I wish people knew…

“Untitled” by David “Wavey” Anderson III. 
Editor’s note: Students at Patterson High School wrote anonymous messages about what they wish people knew about the community they most identify with.

I am a member of the LGBTQ community. We are still people. We are still humans. 

I am a member of the Hispanic community. Not everybody is “Mexican.” We are just like you, and everybody else.

I am a member of the introverted community. It’s really hard to talk and socialize with other people, especially strangers. Some of us may come off as shy or even rude, but most of us just think a lot about how to react to new people.

I am a member of the female community. Girls are not just pretty. We are also smart. We should be respected and treated like humans, not objects.

I am a member of the Black community. Some of us kill each other for nothing. We need to change everything about that.

I am a member of the caregiving community. People who have never been a caregiver cannot understand the experience.

I am a member of the Muslim community. I wish people would understand that what’s shown on social media and shared on the internet isn’t a reliable source to have your questions answered. People need to understand that getting a personal answer from a Muslim you know gives you a deeper view on the reality of Islam. My favorite part of being Muslim is that, no matter where I go with my hijab, I will always get an “As-Salaam-Alaikum” or “Salaam, sister.” I love that a lot.

I am a member of the artistic community. Drawing is easy sometimes and sometimes it’s not. When I finish what I’m drawing, I feel proud because it ends up looking amazing. 

I am a member of the Christian community. My favorite part of this community is meeting every week after church to discuss what it’s like to be a teenager.  

I am a member of the East Baltimore community. It’s dangerous over here. 

I am a member of the young Black men community. We are brothers who all want to be successful at what we do and will always be there for one another. 

I am a member of the biracial community. Everyone assumes I am something I’m not. Just because someone has curly hair and light skin doesn’t mean they are Hispanic.

I am a member of the Muslim community. I wish people understood that Muslims don’t condone violence and that we’re all about peace. I wish people understood that ISIS aren’t real Muslims. If they were, they wouldn’t commit such acts.

I am a member of the soccer community. We are about communication and hard work. We are also about love, peace, and equality. 

I am a member of the Black community. WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. 

I am a member of the creative community. I wish people understood I make my own ideas for me and for me alone. I won’t stand for people who think art and creativity is trash. I will fight for my community if I must.

If you’re curious about an unfamiliar community . . . 
let’s share ideas.

We have good intentions; we want to learn about communities outside of our own. We’re interested in building relationships, and even inter-community. But how to make that happen can be confusing, or even intimidating. Thankfully, there is no shortage of resources to help us get started.

In fact, Baltimore Racial Justice Action, a nonprofit “provid[ing] a variety of racial justice educational events, workshops, and services for individuals, groups, and organizations” recommends dozens of books, articles, websites and films on their site alone. In the process of creating community, knowledge is a necessity. 

Deanna Lavery also recommends a comprehensive list of resources. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has a page devoted to numerous programs that could be the starting place for learning about unfamiliar communities. Beyond that, Deanna says, “I always go where the people are. I meet them where they are.” To form community, she says we must “listen, listen, listen.” 

Are you hesitant to learn about other communities? Do you have suggestions about where to start?
Let’s continue this conversation. 

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