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Reflection: Being Black in America Today

Kristina is a mom of 5-year-old triplets, raising them in Tucson with her husband, also named Chris. She is a freelance writer.

Insight and a look at what four young black Americans have to share about their experience in America today.

We interviewed four young people in Southern California who shared what their opinions and hopes are for their community and hopes for future generations.

What it means to be a young black female today to you?

Nikole Laughlin: "I stand proud but cautious. By that, I mean that I want to highlight and share our accomplishments, especially those of young females who are black, like myself, because there is so much that we have accomplished, but at the same time, I believe we need to be vigilant and stand for justice when we see something wrong or unfair."

DaNita Gerard: "For me, I see that we have a lot of work that we need to get through and address. I love being a young black female and am very proud. I love that I can share my experience and culture with others, and they can share theirs as well... we can all learn from each other, celebrate each other but also still address and respect each other's journeys, even if it's painful."

What is your hope for generations that follow you - what do you want them to see from your path?

Nikole Laughlin: "I want them to see while college is not for everyone, it certainly is a pathway to certain goals that you may have for yourself. As a young black woman in today's society, I want to show my younger peers that you CAN go to college and educate yourself and reach goals and dreams! As I make my way through school at Cal State San Bernardino majoring in design, I want to show them that you can do anything, as cheesy as that sounds."

DaNita Gerard: "I want them to see that you cannot be silent. Make your voice heard! And while we all have different approaches to communication and personalities, you can make your opinion and thoughts known. You don't have to be extroverted. A simple message or post is a way to be heard. Do what is best for you and be confident!"

What does it mean to be a young black male today to you?

De'Andre Steward: "What it means to be a young black male today is powerful. Having the strength and courage to endure/witness what we have been through/seen and still keep faith that things will get better."

Jamison Roland: "I think for me, personally, I need to have courage to continue on the pathway I am on while at the same time watching out for not just my fellow black brothers and sisters, but also my fellow minorities, or anyone who feels like they are not being heard. I want to watch out for myself, but I must watch out for those who need help, too. It's truly a community effort in wanting to see change."

What is your hope for generations that follow you - what do you want them to see from your path?

De'Andre Steward: "What I hope for generations that follow me is progression. I want them to see that no matter what I have been through, I keep going forward and progress in everything that I do."

Jamison Roland: "I want them to see that even though there is a lot of negative going on, you have to believe in the positive. Make changes and stand up for what is right and what you believe in, but don't focus on just what's bad. Show that we are powerful and strong and have meaningful stories."

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