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I grew up on Sesame Street, Ray Charles, Zoom, Miles Davis, the Electric Company, Mr. Rogers, the ORIGINAL Saturday Night Live, Muppets, et cetera, et cetera. I was short, fat, and lived in the projects with my parents (my mother and my grandmother). I was always first or second in line since it was by height. I was the teacher's pet. My mom made most of my clothes. I read books all the time, played piano, crocheted, knitted, and listed to Earth, Wind & Fire. I talked to adults mostly, I had no sibling until I was 11 years old. I could not jump double-dutch to save my life. I had NO idea what sex was or what male genitalia looked like. I was (am) innocent. I was picked on. I was bullied. I ran fast.

It is not that easy being green.

I also made good friends and ALWAYS stood up for the underdogs. I remember Ann Lee, the lone chinese girl in my elementary school and how no one was kind to her. She was my friend. I remember Paul. The blonde boy whose pants legs were always too short and his bladder was as weak as mine but he seemed to wet himself in school more often.

I remember laughing. I remember crying. I remember anger. I remember hopscotch. I remember love. I remember being in the top class (1-1) and having friends in the lowest classes (1-7?). I remember school. I remember my teachers. Miss Cusack, Mrs. Vance, Mr. Colletti, Ms. Dorothy Pryor (Cicely Tyson's cousin), Mr. Warwick, Mr. Guiney, Miss Delgado, Miss Roberta Siegel, Mr. P, PS1, SPS31, Elijah Clark JHS, Norman Thomas HS.

I hear Ray Charles singing, but I see Kermit the Frog. I remember bullies. I remember fights. I remember champions. I remember standing up for people. I remember people standing up for me. Yeah. I know it is not that easy being black, white, female, yellow, brown, red, male, green, et cetera. Life is NOT easy... It is good though. It is what you make it.

My oldest son is a giant, well that is what my daughter has always called him. (He called her midget.) Captain of the wrestling team, always wrestled 215 weight class, football player, baseball player, soccer player, the jock, the artist, the mayor. HE was rarely bullied. I recall ONE boy in elementary school, he lived in a shelter, he was not at the school for long. (HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE.)

My daughter however... it started in kindergarten about her name and it continues to this day. She is brilliant, sensitive, generally the youngest person in her class and the smartest person in her class. She wears her emotions like armor but they do not protect her from the lies, threats and isolation. She is on the honor roll, her picture is on the wall of the school. She is a writer (one novel in progress and a children's book completed), a dancer, a guitarist (acoustic and bass), a fast runner, a soccer player. She is good at all she loves and she is picked on by her peers and called out as an example by the teachers. I hold her as she cries and sinks deeper into the arms of her best friend, DEPRESSION. (ENVY IS A SIN.)

My youngest son is my cousin, so I do not know when it started but he wears it all over. He is NOT a jock. He is not the smartest in the class. He is sensitive and easily provoked to anger and fighting. He is teased. He feared the school bus. We changed buses and new bullies found him. He was/is a walking target. He has been robbed. He has been accosted. He has been teased. He gets angry. He would break things. He does not look people in the eye. He talks low. He dislikes school immensely. Sometimes, I was told he picked on smaller children in his grade. (HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE.)

It is not easy being green. Educate. Advocate. Listen. Speak. Need I say more?

Stand for something



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Dionne C.


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