Five hundred years ago we were farmers, fishermen, and hunters, we learned to live off the land and we were exploited for it. We had our own villages, governments, doctors, and religions.

Tonight as I was coming home from visiting a friend, a neighbor’s friend was coming in the door, and they were speaking in their language. I know it’s African, but I’m not sure which precise dialect, and I will miss that for the rest of my life.

It doesn’t matter if I go and learn every single Black language there is in the history of time, I will still have missed out on learning those languages from my ancestors.

My father was deported before I was born, back to Jamaica, I still don’t know the full story, but I know it involved violence. Because…well of course it did, it was the 90s in Calgary Alberta, Canada, and he was a Black man.

I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, with a white mother who had no idea what to do with two Black kids. She had no idea how to take care of our hair, how to teach us about our roots, or where we come from because no one had taught her.

Last year – I publically said, that I struggle with the Indigenous struggle. They have access to soo much, and simultaneously, sooo little. Their children are buried in the ground in the tens of thousands, many without names.

Yet, white conditioning talks to us all the time about how the governments of the world are doing the best they can for Indigenous communities. It’s in this moment that I realize that the same “white is right” bullshit I’ve been listening to my whole life, is finally starting to make sense to me.

“You CAN’T tell people to pull up on BOOTSTRAPS when half of them NEVER had any boots, to begin with, never EVEN had the CHANCE to get them.”― Christina Hammonds Reed, The Black Kids

My mother is the most inclusive loving and respectful woman you will ever meet. She has a way about her that makes other people feel like they matter, often when they feel that the least. She is a teacher, a healer, and a philanthropist. But many people that we grew up with, her adult, white, Christian friends, were not raised like her and didn’t see the world for what it could be.

They wanted more of the same, and in their not-so-subtle ways, they made sure that my brother and I were as much like them as possible.

They talked down to us, they divided and conquered us by raising up my Black brother, while telling me repeatedly that I would never measure up. At every turn, the people in my life, the adults in my life, stomped on me and reminded me that I was always lucky to have what I had, because “beggars, can’t be choosers,” and I was constantly reminded that I ranked very little above that of someone living on the streets.

When I tried to explain to a group of Black women, that I felt desperate, and that I was emotionally broken because I see what others have, I was in a state of “what about me?” I honestly felt left behind, and frankly, I still do.

I didn’t FALL down the CRACKS. I was THROWN in and SET ON FIRE, kicked, beaten, branded, and sold until I FINALLY learned to say “Fuck You” to EVERYONE who thought they could BREAK me.

The white supremacist system designed to protect white supremacy is working just fine. I am proof of that. I didn’t finish high school because instead of sleeping I was being raped. I had teachers who ignored the signs, either because they didn’t know or didn’t care.

It took me 35 years, to remember that I am who I was born to be, and that person was never born to be a victim. I was not weak until they decided that I needed to be weakened. I was strong and they stole that, on purpose.

For me, when I found an anchor when I found something that I thought that I could hold onto, that would lead me to lighter shores, instead what I found was what it took me another year and a half to recognize as jealousy.

If I tell you that I think I am strong, powerful, wise, and filled with the ability to do great things, you will say that I sound arrogant, but as Maxine Waters once said, I’m just reclaiming my time.

I spent years thinking that I was the problem. When I started talking about gang violence and the harm that it causes, people called me a rat and told me to keep my mouth shut. Even in places where I thought I would be safe to express my concern I was made to feel guilty for feeling the way that I did.

This website is the only place in the world where I have been able to be my true self. I’m watching NCIS right now and they have this thirteen-year storyline that has been playing out about Russian spies who were trained as children.

I went through similar shit – the brainwashing, the being made to forget, the finding ways to survive the pain so I didn’t have to talk about it, and watching that same pain destroy my life and the lives of those that I care about.

It wouldn’t matter what color of my skin is, this life would be hard for anyone, but it’s exponentially worse because of the color of my skin, in a society that hates EVERYTHING about me, but ONLY because I am a Brown-skinned Black woman.

All of this to say that when you turn around and say that trans, non-binary and other LGBTQ2S+ people are abusive, or that they are pedophiles, you muddy the waters, and you destroy the voices of all of us who are trying to tell you what real abuse is.

Racism is abuse. Anything that tears any human down for any reason, strips away who they could be, in order to turn them into something awful.

There are “glorified” gangsters out there, that I know of, who could have been completely different people if they hadn’t been abused as children. But because “men” don’t talk about what they’ve been through, they just carry on as if the strength they use for evil, comes from nowhere…or worse, from God.

I think about the women in the fields and the kitchens every single day. I think of them raising white children, and I think of them dreaming of my future, it’s hard for me to imagine that THEY could imagine that I might exist, but what if they did? What if that’s the majick that keeps me from choosing to do harm when any harm I could do, would be absolutely justified?

I want better for the children of the people that I love, which means I have to do better. What do you want?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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