Letter in response to Alchemies of Erasure

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Dear Alyssa,

“When a woman has to be made invisible, it is because she is powerful, and her presence reverberates, touching everything in its path.”

When I read this quote I immediately thought of you. When you recently moving from Long Island to North Carolina, you told me you felt out of place. Most of the high school you are now enrolled in is full of students who identify to be as white. Being that you are a mixed chick, you’ve said it’s hard to feel connected to these people who don’t identify with our culture- our culture as Caribbean women. I feel for you and I think as you get older you will realize that you aren’t just your appearance but you’re mind and soul are what make you shine compared to the others that see you as “the other”. You may be “the other”, the “new girl” but you are the new girl who is beyond her years and understands societal issues that people who don’t have the same identities as you do not understand. They can’t put themselves in your shoes. The place that you feel you have in this community allows you to be a powerful outsider. Someone who can actively listen and reflect on people’s actions and words. In my opinion, that’s a great thing!! People who aren’t like you and me, don’t have that ability. We have the capabilities to see what others don’t. We can see who thinks before they speak, and who doesn’t. We can see who chooses their words carefully and who just talks out of their asses. When you tell me you just want to leave the school and come back to New York, I fear for you. I fear that you won’t stick around to educate your fellow classmates of the role that you play in this community. You must stay. You must stay and tell them how their actions and their words have an impact on you! This will give you power over others. Your suffering and loss in these situations that you experience gives you the power to tell people your story and share how it can change their perspective of the outsider’s situation. Being the outsider or “the invisible” isn’t a bad identity. It’s empowering. I want you to realize you have this power and find that power within you because you can use it to do so much. You have no idea Alyssa. Your experiences in North Carolina can help educate people. The state that you live in, the environment you live in is such a political change from how you lived in Long Island, New York. You definitely already know this because you see it in school. You see how kids dress with their “Make America Great Again” hats supporting Donald Trump and all the hatred he stands with. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and describe your hardships you’ve experienced in your community with the open ears of youth and even your parents who can learn from your heart ache.

All my love,

Sophie

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