Dear Brother

Samantha-Louise Archibong, 18, London

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Dear Brother, I remember on a windy autumn afternoon, strolling through Croydon town centre. You were suddenly stopped by a policeman. I panicking, you calm. Shocked by your calmness I asked you how you were so calm, and you say "I'm used to it." With a very visible laid-back expression.

Dear brother, on a summer afternoon after work, I was with you as we watched a policeman stop a young black boy. He knew what the policeman wanted. Without the policeman saying anything, he handed him his bag and spread his arms out like it was his daily routine. He held the same laid-back expression that you held, like he was also used to it. 

I could tell you many stories like this in which all those young black boys held that same expression which suggested they were used to it, but I won't. 

Dear brother, speaking to you about how you feel about society is heart breaking. You feel very alienated, excluded and like the worlds against you. You know your opportunities are been taken away from you day by day, and you feel like all you can do is accept it, because if you fight back all what they say about you becomes true. 

Why do you think there's an increase in youth violence? You are being stereotyped, whilst you try to fight it, you don't see the point as they are going to judge you regardless of what you do. 

Dear brother, you know you are twice as likely to be unemployed when you leave school as your white friends and you say it is unfair.

Brother, I know daddy isn't always around, whilst other male role models you look up to look down on you, because of the way you look, dress and speak. What's left for you?

So I tell you this...

Dear brothers, society makes you feel like you aren't wanted but let me be the one to tell you that you are. The world makes you feel like you are worthless, but let me be the one to tell you that you are not. They want you to believe that you are a problem in society but trust me you are not the problem, society is. Society needs to change for you, and you not for them.  So don't be who they want you to be but be the change you want them to see.

Samantha is a member of our Young Leaders programme. The Almeida Young Leaders is a scheme giving young people with something vital to say, the tools and platform to do so. Each young leader has been mentored by a writer and director to develop their ideas, structuring a speech and skills in public speaking.