Jan 31, 2017

The Colors of a New Generation

By Lori Draz and Suubi Mondesir

Welcome to Teen Scene, written by the great students of our area. Each month, our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents on a variety of subjects. We are looking for articles on special or unusual accomplishments or hobbies; on relatable topics like getting your first car or applying for college; or on helpful topics like how parents should interact with teens, dealing with family issues, or tips on spotting behavior problems. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact loridraz@gmail.com. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry – let’s get to sharing.

Suubi Mondesir is a junior at Red Bank Regional’s Creative Writing Academy and was a student journalist for the school’s newspaper. She lives in Red Bank and enjoys working anywhere it’s comfortable and quiet, so she can reflect on events of the day. She also enjoys listening to different genres of music as well as spending time with family and friends. Suubi is recipient of several Honorable Mentions and a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing competition for her pieces entitled “Communion,” “Finding Happiness,” and “Waiting for You.” She also completed a course of study at Rutgers University Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Program. She was a finalist for the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof poetry contest on race, for her piece entitled “Not Black Enough.” Her name, Suubi, is Ugandan for hope, which is one the main goals of her writing. With this being Black History Month and given the conditions of the world today, she is more committed than ever to possibilities of healing and to the concept that with hope, we have a greater chance at making the world we live in better place, without boundaries. Here is Suubi’s story.

The Colors of a New Generation

Some would argue that the social and political climate we live in today offers little hope for a better tomorrow. However, I believe that our hope remains in what many consider to be an unlikely and unpredictable source. Throughout history, The United States of America has been able to triumph through innumerable wars, both foreign and domestic, but we cannot seem to overcome the one difference. A contrast of pigmentation still provides the biggest barrier this country has ever faced and has yet to overcome. The solution to this epidemic mindset can only be cured by a generation that actually appreciates differing colors: my generation.

Ever since the times of slavery, black skin has been seen as inferior and “less than.” My ancestors endured and suffered since 1619, when the first slaves were brought into the American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. African-Americans survived being ripped from their families and homeland, through lynchings, whippings, the KKK, and Jim Crow laws.

During the civil rights era, trailblazers like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X fought to free African-Americans from oppression, degradation, and isolation from those seeking their demise, all of which we still face today. So, one might ask, why did race become such a prevalent judge of character? When did the color of one’s skin determine innocence or guilt, intelligence or ignorance? The answer is that it began with a mindset that was taught and passed down from generation to generation. This vicious cycle must end and I believe that it will, with this generation, simply because we recognize how we got here and we respect the differences in all colors. However, it is important to recognize the strides that older generations have made, as well as their sacrifices that have allowed us to be where we are today, which has improved and taken steps forward to a more enlightened and open-minded society.

In the 21st century, a new generation of millennials has risen to create the hope for a better tomorrow. This generation speaks of love, understanding, and equality, regardless of outward appearances. This will be the generation to make America what our founders envisioned, even though they themselves could not achieve it. It’s time to hold ourselves accountable to the promises of this nation and truly have freedom and justice for all. A young person, Malala Yousafzai, once said, “I speak not for myself, but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity.” Young people are far more powerful and intelligent than we are led to believe. In us lies the capability to change the world; we are our own tomorrows.