In a heartfelt personal essay for People, Lonnie Chavis, who plays the younger version of Sterling K. Brown‘s character, Randall, on This Is Us, got candid about growing up as a black boy in America.
“My life matters, but does it?” he begins. “America paints a very clear picture of how I should view myself. America shows me that my Blackness is a threat, and I am treated as such. I actually didn’t learn about being Black and what that would mean for me until I was 7 years old.”
Chavis then goes on to detail various instances that have occurred in both personal and professional settings.
“Can you imagine being confused for any other Black kid just because you all share the same profession?” he asked after recalling being confused for the Black actors on Stranger Things and black-ish. “I can.”
“Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn’t hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism? I can,” he continued. “Can you imagine someone thinking you are a thief just because of the color of your skin? I can.”
“If you don’t understand what’s going on in the world, then understand this: This is what the world looks like for me. A 12-year-old Black boy. This is my America,” Chavis shared in closing.
“Policies need to change, laws need to change, the police need to change, Hollywood needs to change, hearts need to change, America needs to change. Change has got to happen for unarmed Black citizens to not live in fear of being murdered,” he added. “Can you imagine being me in 2020 and wondering what the future holds? I can’t.”
By Danielle Long
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