Black Lives Matter: 6th Grade Boys Write Letter To President Obama

April 11, 2016  |  

From left to right: Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson and Keidy, all sixth graders at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst.

From left to right: Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson and Keidy, all sixth graders at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst.

Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson, and Keidy of Wildwood Elementary School in Amherst, MA, are sixth graders who are doing their part to make the world a better place.

In February, the boys’ teacher, Chris Eggmeir, assigned a project in which his students were instructed to find a problem in the world and explore possible solutions to it. Bryson had become interested in the Black Lives Matter movement and proposed to his group members that they take on racism, with Black Lives Matter being a potential solution to it.

After doing the research, the boys decided to draft a letter to President Obama, lamenting their thoughts, frustrations, and hopes as young Black males in America.  Before sending it, the boys asked a paraprofessional, Mtalia William Banda, at their school to edit the letter.  Banda posted the letter on his politically-driven blog, Soul Latte, saying “I knew immediately this needed to be shared.”

Upon posting, the letter has been shared thousands of times and the boys have been featured on Western Massachusetts news outlets.  Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson, and Keidy recently read the their letter aloud at a Black Lives Matter forum in their home state.

In the letter, after addressing President Obama and introducing themselves, the boys state that because of Black Lives Matter, they want to voice their concerns about equal treatment by members of law enforcement.  The four young men also explain the origins of the Black Live Matter movement starting after Trayvon Martin was gunned down and give statistics that ultimately suggest one of them could personally fall victim to the prison system in some capacity or another.

The most poignant part of the letter is towards the end. Many have been confused and against Black Lives Matter because they assume that it’s racist, while others have been asking “Why don’t all lives matter?”  The four break this down in a manner that most can understand:

“… Some people take this movement in the wrong way by thinking that they are just saying that only Black lives matter but no, we are saying that Black lives matter too, which means all lives matter.  Whites are treated like they matter by the police.  For instance, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.  African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.  This shows that blacks are treated unfairly.  This movement advocates for our rights.”  

As of yet, President Obama hasn’t responded to the boys’ letter.  At Madamenoire, we’re just doing our part to make sure the message gets heard.  You can read the full letter here.  

Chad Milner is a New York-based writer who founded the blog Single Dadventures, where he pens his (mis)adventures with his daughter, Cydney.  He regularly contributes to Madamenoire, as well as various websites, giving insight on parenting, dating, relationships and music from the perspective of a young, single Black father.  Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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