Patrice Ravenscroft

Patrice Ravenscroft is the associate publisher of the Southeast Express.

If you are like me, at times Black people have felt forgotten and unseen. May this shared experience bring us together — as we can do more together than apart. 

The Black community is as diverse as its past — we reflect scars, triumph, injustice, hope and light for a new day. Colorado Springs has a unique opportunity as we look to the future; we want to see for ourselves. When we look back at the rich essence of vibrancy within our culture, stories and journeys, we see joy. That is my hope; I see joy and, overall, I feel joy. Maybe I just want to encourage someone or maybe the encouragement is what I need as a young woman of color who has enough scars to echo the  injustices we have repeated for hundreds of years. I believe the hope lies within us. 

For me, poetry is the only outlet I trust to fully express healing, and who I am. Some people single out and celebrate Black History Month. I celebrate each day. Each day I can have a conversation with anyone from any walk of life, trying to only see and, most importantly, hear their story and hope they will do the same and really see me. Here’s my poem. I hope you enjoy it. 

My Beautiful Blackness

My blackness is my hero. My refuge. My understanding. My strength. 

My blackness is my business grind

My sexy swag. 

My open heart.

My feminine. 

These arms are not made for hate. 

They love, embrace, give life, have held life, have held death. 

Keeps loving and keeps reaching for a more loving day for us all.

My blackness is the love I have to offer over a cup of coffee as I listen to your story. 

My blackness knows we are all more alike than our outside shells allow us to realize — our composition combined will maybe allow us to create beauty and sunshine within these walls. Walls we have created to keep us from walking hand in hand. 

The walls are screaming to be let down. 

Let me tell you about this beautiful God-created masterpiece … my blackness, my brown fierceness and my roots of strength are in this skin. 

Skin with unmatched beauty yet not reciprocated by the world. 

My blackness is strong enough to love me body and soul. 

Once you open my heart the illusion slips away so well at times the white comfort sometimes leaves the room … reminding me my blackness is still feared. 

But make no mistake. I am a safe ally. But still in my shell. Our society is deeply in need of love’s touch.

My blackness is healing generational wounds. 

My blackness is the grit to survive the unimaginable. 

So my blackness is humble. 

Don’t hate what you fear.

Take note. As will I.

My blackness comes to teach, comes to learn but always, always … 

My blackness comes in love.

As I watched Amanda Gorman and her eloquent, thoughtful and powerful poem being spoken I wept. The reachable possibilities of change, hope and the power of the word that gives light in the darkness are still inspiring. She reminded me of myself as a young hopeful poet and I thank her for her courage.

I thought how fitting to share the last lines of her poem that captured many hearts, including mine.

“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

— From Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Day 2021 poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ 

Patrice Ravenscroft is the associate publisher of the Southeast Express.