Mormon, Black and Proud

My name is Lysa Burns and I’m 15 years old. I live in San Diego, California and I’m in the UC First Ward in the San Diego North Stake and I am Mormon. I’m Mormon and black and proud. And I have strong feelings on the killings and crimes with white cops killing mostly black men and some women.

I know most people aren’t bigoted. But some are. Think about how you would feel if just 10% of people treated you poorly.

Some people will try to tell me that I’m “overexaggerating” and “that it doesn’t affect me because my family isn’t dead.” But what they don’t understand is that it does involve me! It has so much to do with me and my family. My grandfather is still scarred from his younger days when people would throw rocks at him and spit on him. My own white grandmother got kicked out of her home for being with a black man. People don’t understand the worried texts I send my brothers when they go anywhere, especially when they drive. For the past few days I’ve chosen to lay low on social media, lay low in public. I just stayed home and spent my time with family and friends. I am more than grateful for them and our safety.

What happened and is happening to my people is revolting. It makes me sick to my stomach to watch my people suffer throughout this disgusting time in our lives. I understand that it is incredibly hard to imagine what it feels like to be in my brother’s shoes or my shoes and understand what we have and are going through everyday as a strong black youth.

Unless you are standing in my shoes in my colored skin you won’t realize what we go through on a daily basis, you won’t understand walking into a store and all eyes are on you every step of the way because you are BLACK, you will NEVER be able to walk through my day to get judgmental stares as I walk down the street of a nice neighborhood. You won’t understand the way people look at me with pity like I am an abused puppy, like I am nothing. Now a days anybody is a threat and I’m scared. How am I supposed to walk down the street with my black young siblings reassuring them that we’re safe?

You’re right, I can’t. It is 2016 and I can’t even turn on the news without seeing another shooting or killing and it really makes me wonder what kind of world this is. It really makes me question society and why people really think it’s okay to make that initial thought that they can just take someone’s life. It’s not okay and until you’re God you have no right to end ANYONE’S life.

When I’m in church they teach us that God loves us no matter what. No matter the skin color, size, tall, short, skinny, or fat. If you accept God in your heart and know that you’re trying your best to be like him, everything will be okay and He’ll be there every step of the way. Black, white, yellow, brown, green, purple, or no skin at all.

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Author profile

Ruth is the happily married mother of four. One daughter is married and lives in Utah, another is serving a mission in Massachusetts. Her two sons,16 and 14, keep life exciting at home in San Diego. She shares her love of all things bookish on Instagram @literally.ruth.mitchell and recently published her first YA novel, Deleted. On Ruby Girl she plans to recommend uplifting fiction, as well as document real-life Latter-Day Saint love stories.

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  • Annalee
    July 13, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for sharing your perspective, Lysa! I’m not black, but I am grateful to have a Father in Heaven who loves all His children and doesn’t even notice skin color. I hope that more people in this world can come to see others as God does–as His children, and that makes us all equal.

  • Lily
    July 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Good for you! I don’t know what it’s like to be you, but I bet my pioneer ancestors could probably relate when it comes to being an outcast in society. I appreciate your willingness to stand strong, just like a pioneer!