How Does It Feel?
How did it feel to grow up Black in America?
I felt annoyed. I was asked, “Why do you speak like a white girl?”
I felt proud. I made good grades even though they expected less of me.
I felt anxious. I was the only Black kid in a room full of kids who didn’t look like me.
I felt welcomed. I discovered a community where I felt a sense of belonging.
I felt ugly. I was told I was “pretty for a Black girl.”
I felt beautiful. Both my Black and Jewish communities celebrated my wedding.
I felt out of place. I was mistaken for wait-staff at a friend’s simcha.
I felt terrified. I was pulled over by a police officer for a routine traffic stop and he came out of his car gun drawn.
I have felt many things. But today I feel inspired because of you.
You– who are standing up for what is right.
You– who are opening up and addressing challenging issues in a deep way.
You– who celebrate me for who I am on the inside and the outside.
You make me feel hopeful for the future.
Zehava Arky grew up moving around the world with her family and now resides in Be’er Sheva, Israel with her husband and two sons. She holds a Bachelor’s in Spanish and International Business and a Master’s in International Relations and Conflict Resolution – with a concentration in International and Transnational Security Issues