Black Lives Matter is a reminder that we’re not all that different from one another.
Part 2 in a series
by Jeanelle Folkes
#BlackLivesMatter to me because I am someone who works hard for success, who is following the path to the American Dream. I grew up learning to be tolerant, learning to accept everybody, regardless of who they are or where they came from. I was raised to embrace my Blackness, and to see it as beautiful, not as something that would hold me back.
Both of my parents are Black immigrants from the island of Jamaica. They experienced racism when they emigrated here, but they didn’t let it deter them from achieving their goals. They didn’t let it deter them from building a good life for me and my older brother.
They realized that people were going to discriminate against them because of the color of their skin. That’s something they brought to my attention very early in life.
They also taught me that I’m a child of God, and that loving my neighbor is important. I never learned to view any other race or ethnicity as inferior, but instead to view all people as equal.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a much needed reminder that we as Black people are important, that our lives have substance. We, too, have loved ones. We, too, have children that we would hope to have a safe future. We don’t need to be feared just because we have more melanin. We should not be generalized into a category of thugs, rapists, thieves, hoodlums, and killers. Those exist for every race.
We want to live and love and enjoy this life just as much anyone else. I think that people forget that. Black Lives Matter is a reminder that we’re not all that different from one another.
Jeanelle Folkes is a Jamaican American entrepreneur and higher education professional. She currently works in New York City but resides in New Jersey. As the owner of Jeanesque Photography LLC, she hopes to one day use her creative talent to help continue the positive impact of the Black Lives Matter movement.