I am Yvonne Idro. Born and raised in Uganda. My home, my motherland, my heart. The place I could wear a hoodie in the middle of the night and not have my life taken away because I looked suspicious. Uganda, the place I could go on a run in the day light and not fear for my life because I looked suspicious. Uganda, the place where I felt the most beautiful in my skin color and didn’t have to justify why I am as dark as I am. I have lived in Seattle for 13 years, but it is so incredibly hard for me to call America home. The main reason being, black people are not considered people in this “land of the free”. We are everything to you, from your best entertainment, to your best athletes, and everything in between, but when we mention the words “JUSTICE” “EQUALITY” we are not heard. And when we say “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE” we are stereotyped as violent.
To say I am tired is an understatement. It got to a point of repeatedly telling society how mistreated our black women and fellow black men are, that I got numb to everything going on. My fellow black and brown sisters dying while living their everyday life, and on top of that, my black idols are dying too. Who will we have left? As a black woman, I felt that I couldn’t scream anymore. It will take more than the black woman screaming for her to be heard. She needs the black man, the rest of the world to support, appreciate, and love her, so she can actually feel human.
Music is what I eat, what I breathe, what my soul craves every second of the day. Black musicians have had a great influence in my life and a greater influence on society than we realize. These are the people whose lyrics we listen to on the daily. They give us topics to discuss amongst our friends, families, classrooms and even in work spaces. Artists like James Brown, Bob Marley, Tupac, Nina Simone, Elaine Brown, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and many others, used and still use their platform to speak about power and racism. Singing/ music can be a form of peaceful protest, yet have a big impact on many. The people are listening. People look up to the musicians that they hear playing on their radios and TV’s. Activists like James Brown worked to inspire Black children and their parents, to stay in school and get the education needed to be successful. People like him wanted to find ways to get them to vote because it was a right that they didn’t know they had. He inspired them to be proud of who they were. Which reminds me, Vote, Vote, Vote, and one more thing VOTE! But don't vote blindly, you have to educate yourself, it’s a must! So many resources out in this world, from libraries, to the internet, to your family, friends, professors, name it! There shouldn't be a reason why you didn’t vote. I need you to hold yourself and your friends accountable and make sure they vote.
I end this message with a simple poem:
The color of our skin is black
All we want is equality and justice
My skin should not define
how this society gets to treat me
Which side are you on?
I will sing
I will shout
I will speak my truth
I will speak my peace
Which side are you on?
Come with me and raise your fists
Lift them to the sky
Show the world your mighty black skin
And don’t forget
Be proud of who you are
I look forward to whatever challenge life has waiting for me.