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Promises ... In Shades of Black

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Briana Boykin
The Inland Empire has been home to me for the majority of my life. It’s where I have spent the greater half of my life trying to tackle or work out the thing we commonly call “growing up” – a process that, in my book, has not always been easy.

Nevertheless, despite all the hardships of transitioning into adulthood, getting older has also been quite rewarding; and, I look forward to the years – the promises that lie ahead of me.

for this reason, I have decided to highlight the community that has fostered my development into young adulthood by telling its story through the accomplishments of its young people: young adults in the Black community under the age of thirty who also have been cultivated by the Inland Empire community and who give us great hope for the future.

I call these young people promises. I have always believed in the power of community and understand that my achievements as a young adult would not be possible without the nurturing village of individuals who have invested within me confidence, wisdom, and divine knowledge.

I am completely humbled by what these tools have enabled me to accomplish in less than twenty-five years of life, and I am so thankful for the community who is within me – the ancestors, mothers, and fathers, cousins, sisters, sons, and daughters of the village that nurtures me. The wise men and women – teachers, pastors, deacons, ushers, husbands, wives, mentors, and friends – who have sewn into me a unique quality of life through a genuine and sincere love.

Together, they are my promise quilt.

It is this same village that has inspired me to write about a unique thing that is happening everyday in these parts of the Inland Empire.

My hope is that I will be able to illuminate that village who is in me and use the stories of her young people to continue inspiring those who do and do not yet know their place or shade in the promise quilt.  Every day I meet new “promises,” and I am often surprised by their modesty and quietness. Thus, I have taken responsibility to amplify those great future leaders in our community who are being cultured everyday in our own backyard.  By sharing their stories in a weekly editorial sequence, I will use young people as the means in which to write about the village, as the lens into a world of elders who are committed to investing in their young people, and as a way inspire the youth of this generation through the works and achievements of their peers.

I hope to take the stories of “promise” and capture an entire picture of the village surrounding them. Each story will add a new piece to the quilt. Please join me next week as we sew our first promise back in to the fabric of the village.

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