Matthew Davy – 15 year old sophomore

Matthew Davy - 15 year old sophomore

Matthew Davy, NHS Activist

Hi. My name is Matthew and I’m a 15-year-old sophomore, so as you can imagine, I have a lot of questions about the world. I’m always wondering what things are and why they are, but most importantly, who I am.

I know I’m a brother, a son, a friend, a student. I also know I’m a person of color. A black person of color and a black person of color living in America. From my voice, however, I know I don’t sound as American as most of you. But I want to make something explicit: This is just as much my America as it is yours. This is just as much my home as it is yours. This is the home I want to grow up in, graduate in, succeed in and be successful in. I want to find someone and start a family here one day. I want to have children here.

There are a lot of people here today who have children, and I’m assuming you worry a lot. You worry when your child grazes their knee or bumps their head. And that’s good; it’s normal and I wouldn’t expect any different. But speaking truthfully, I would feel like a terrible parent if I brought my child into a world where not only are they at a disadvantage, but their safety is constantly at risk, over something they have no control over and can never change. To all the parents, no matter your race, raising black children in America today, I want you to know that we love you and appreciate you. We thank you even when you tell us we can’t go somewhere we want to go or can’t do something we want to do; we understand how hard you work just to keep us safe.

But that’s not what I want for me or my generation. I am black: I am black unapologetically; I am black and strong; I am black and smart; I am black and brave and I am black and proud. No matter how much this world wants to make me feel like the skin I am in is a sin, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

To the family in question, I don’t have any hate in my heart towards you, nor do I have a single word of slander. But I have to ask, does our skin scare you? Does our skin intimidate you? When we walk past you, does our skin make you feel threatened? Do we make you uncomfortable? I can imagine you’re probably terrified right now: you fear for your lives in your own home as a result of threats, which I want to make abundantly clear I do not condone. But that is just a taste of the lives we live, and we didn’t do a single thing to deserve it.

My science teacher a few years ago taught us how skin is translucent. I say that because after things like this, there will be many people thinking to themselves, “I don’t see color.” To all the “l”s who say they don’t see color, eyes do. I don’t expect you not to. But the beauty of translucence is that when you shine a light through it, you get a glimpse of what’s going on underneath. We are black. But we are so much more.

It’s crazy to think that almost 60 years later I have to reiterate how we want to be judged based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin, but if I have to say it 1000 times over I will. We will not stop until America is just as safe, as fruitful and just as free for us too. Thank you for your time.