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I Celebrate My Race

…to defend against negative messages

Althea Richardson

Althea RichardsonOne day, I bought a gummy candy at the store, and when I unwrapped it, some of the plastic fell on the ground. A white person walked by and said, “Pick it up and put it in the garbage like the trash that you are.”

What can we do to defend ourselves against these messages that we get every day? What can we do to remind ourselves that we all deserve to be respected and to be accepted as equals? What I do is I celebrate my race to remind myself that we are not trash.

For example, I celebrate our heroes, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a dream that blacks and whites would get along. He fought and died for his beliefs. Thanks to him and others who joined the Civil Rights movement, we can all use the same water fountain and attend the same schools. Rosa Parks is another hero. She refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. Her action started the Montgomery bus boycott. For almost a year, 99% of the African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to ride the bus. Instead they walked, rode bikes, or carpooled. Finally, the Supreme Court decided that segregated buses were unconstitutional.

On a personal level, I celebrate my race by being a beautiful black African American young lady who remains positive by doing things I love to do and focusing on my goals. I want my high school equivalency, so that’s why I go to school Monday through Friday. Moreover, I work hard to take care of my health. It’s very important that I go to dialysis three days a week and be compliant with medications, so that I can get a kidney transplant by 2016. Every Saturday I work out in a class called Caribbean Cardio. It’s so motivating because it inspires me to want to do much more.

By maintaining all of these actions, I fortify myself and protect myself from negativity. I have morals, values, and self-respect, which prevent past hurts from stopping my success. The saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’’ keeps me going. I thank God every day that I’m here to grow and learn.

Althea Richardson was born in Manhattan at Harlem Hospital. At 26 years old, she’s currently trying to get her HSE. She’s also interested in going into a trade. Specifically, she would love to become a CNA, so she’s studying hard to achieve that goal. In addition, she loves working with children and others. Growing up, she always wanted to do something in the health field, like being a pediatrician.

Back to Issue 42