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Serena Williams Pens An Open Letter To Her Mom And Reminds Us Of The Strength Of Our Heritage In the Face of Adversity

The unmatched, superwoman at the helm of spreading black girl magic as one of the best athletes on earth, period, has yet another title. Serena Williams, Olympian and 72 career title-holder, is now mother to daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.  On Tuesday, September 19 2017, using her fiancé’s digital community, Williams shared an intimate and emotionally transparent letter to her mother Ms. Oracene Price.

In the letter, Serena reflects on the challenges and strength of her own mother, raising (and coaching!) a black woman who has faced perils based on her gender, ethnicity, and her appearance. No stranger to criticism, Serena has been body shamed, internet trolled, paid less, and outright hated for the color of her skin.  Through it all though, she has learned and grown, hoping to show the same fortitude to her daughter as gift of legacy. She gives thanks to her mother saying, “Thank you for being the role model I needed to endure all the hardships that I now regard as a challenges — ones that I enjoy.”   Read the letter in full below:

Dear Mom,
You are one of the strongest women I know. I was looking at my daughter (OMG, yes, I have a daughter ?) and she has my arms and legs! My exact same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body. I don’t know how I would react if she has to go through what I’ve gone through since I was a 15 year old and even to this day.
I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong. It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage). It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it).
But mom, I’m not sure how you did not go off on every single reporter, person, announcer and quite frankly, hater, who was too ignorant to understand the power of a black woman.
I am proud we were able to show them what some women look like. We don’t all look the same. We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!
You are so classy, I only wish I could take your lead. I am trying, though, and God is not done with me yet. I have a LONG way to go, but thank you.
Thank you for being the role model I needed to endure all the hardships that I now regard as a challenges–ones that I enjoy. I hope to teach my baby Alexis Olympia the same, and have the same fortitude you have had.
Promise me, Mom, that you will continue to help. I’m not sure if I am as meek and strong as you are yet. I hope to get there one day. I love you dearly.
Your youngest of five,

Thanks Serena for reminding us, that in even in the face of hate and opposition, activism can take many forms — even nurturing, guiding, and raising a champion.
What do you think of Serena’s letter? What would you say to your mom in an open letter? Leave a comment below.

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