My name is Kyra Welch, hailing from the wonderful city of Louisville, Kentucky. I am a second year psychology sophomore at the illustrious Bethune-Cookman University.
“Strong” is a word that has been used to describe me my entire life. When I was called strong at the age of eight, it was because I could lift up my mother using all of the power in my body. However, at the age of ten, the word strong had lost all of its physical connotations. In the span of two years I had gone from lifting my mother to show her my strength, to having to lift her name in the light of injustice. The kind of strength some people never have to channel within their entire lifetime.
In 2011, I lost my mother to police brutality. Present day it is so common, it almost sounds like I lost her to an illness. But police brutality isn’t a disease, it is a crime. That day a mother was gunned down in front of her two children. I was ten at the time and my brother was six. She wasn’t just my mother she was my mentor, guide, light, and superhero. Much like a real superhero I thought she was invincible. Despite the trauma I had witnessed that day, I still believed that she’d fly in from the magical planet of Virgos and resume her motherly duties. I prayed that I had been a part of some sort of social experiment. The thing about being a witness to a crime so heinous, is that people look at you in so many different ways. I was a victim, a witness, and a mouthpiece. A victim that was robbed of her single mother, a witness who had to give depositions to grown men trying to win a legal case (only to settle and still have to find a way to pay for college years later), and a mouth piece for an uncreated black lives matter movement. Before Black Lives Matter officially became a thing, 11- year- old me was speaking on local panels to share my story. It didn’t receive the traction of course but it felt like I was doing what needed to be done. I didn’t feel like a witness, I felt like a warrior. In the early on stages I would hate being told I was strong. I didn’t want to be strong, I wanted to cry like a child who lost their mother because I was a child who indeed had just lost their mother.
The funny thing about strength is that you don’t get to choose when it develops. It just happens. And when it happens you become unstoppable. And that is exactly what I’ve become. My high school years were filled with fighting and being a mouthpiece for injustice. Instead of a victim I was victorious. And I still am. Although I have taken a break from the physical fight, I have begun the fight for peace in the mind. Along with my studies in psychology, I am also on my spiritual journey. This journey has helped me realize that healing the soul as well as the mind is crucial to living a meaningful life. A principle I hope to carry over into my career (as soon as I narrow it down). Anyways, the point is that strength doesn’t have to be brooding or loud. It is an inner power that we channel when we least expect it. Don’t waste all of your strength trying to show people you are strong.