“Dear Beloved,

“Your grandma taught me how to pray. As the day turned to evening and I donned the fuzzy footie pajamas that were a staple of my childhood, I would crawl into bed as she tucked me in, whispering words of love into my ear. 'You are beautiful. You are brave. You are God’s beloved one.'

“What I did not know then was that these were ancient words. Words passed down from Black mothers to their children in slave quarters and cotton fields, shotgun houses and urban ghettos. Prophetic utterances that affirmed the humanity of Black children in a world that did not love them back. They are radical words shaped on the road between Sarah’s longing and Hagar’s cries for deliverance. They are visions of a future not yet come to pass: A world in which all babies can freely dream and hope and create and wonder and live without the threat of violence looming like a thief in the night.”