Dear Ms.Uyen, 
It’s been seven years. I hope you still remember me. If not, it’s okay too! I met you when I was in 4th grade and you were my homeroom teacher. I felt scared when I saw you because you looked so serious and it scared me. I  remember you had black hair tied up as a ponytail, you were wearing glasses, and your face was always emotionless. At that time, I didn’t realize how your eyes expressed your face, all I felt was my fear of your face. Then, one day, I figured it out.  You weren’t as scary as your face looked. You were very gentle and caring to other students. 
I still remember the time a student dropped his badminton shuttlecock in the corner of the stairs. It was a dangerous place because it was really high. Anyone could fall down if they dropped something and tried to reach for it. However, that boy risked his life to catch that, even though nothing happened to him, but the other teacher still brought him to the principal’s room. I remember the sadness in your eyes as you asked  him, “Is it ok to risk your life just because of the ball?” I realized that your face did not express your soul but your heart did.  
My point of view about you changed from that day.  Even if there was a time I did something wrong, you didn’t use anything to hit my hands like my other teachers did before. Instead, you asked me to write 10 times the sentence “I won’t skip my gym class again!” There was a time you comforted me when I had a bad grade on my math final exam. That day, my class celebrated a party and you bought a box of egg tarts for everyone. Then you called me and said:  
“Honey, don’t be sad! Next year, I believe that you can improve your math grade! So don’t be sad ok, everything will be fine!” 
The last thing that I want to say to you is thank you for always supporting and comforting me when I was sad. I miss you, Ms. Uyen! 
I love you, 
Your student 
Phuong Nguyen 
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Dear Rania, 
I wish you are doing good my best friend. It’s been a long time since I have talked to you or seen you since I moved to the United States. I still remember every second of that day when I left you in Algeria’s Airport. I remember that we hugged each other the whole time and we couldn’t believe that we would not see each other. And when I saw your tears, mine didn't want to stop dropping too.  
I didn’t want to leave you and come to the United States, but it was for my education. I still remember that day when I came back home after school, and I found my family all gathered together. My father started to explain to us that we were moving to America to continue our education and have a better future. My brothers were all happy, however I was sad and thinking about how I was leaving you alone.  
I want you to know that I was thinking about you all the way to the airplane and the days that I lived here without you. Before I fall asleep, I always think about the time we spent together and how I believe life will bring us together again one day. I tried to contact you on social media, but you deactivated all your accounts. I am wondering why you did that. I wish everything is okay. 
I am writing this letter because I want to tell you that I miss you so much and I want to see you again, sit together and tell you all the things that I see in the United States. Also how schools here look totally different than schools in Algeria. Here in the United States, we study only the basic subjects: English, math, physics or chemistry and history. Also, we have to study four years in high school and three years in middle school. It’s different than Algeria’s schools. 
Rania, I want you to know that I am not going to give up, and I’ll do everything possible to find a way to contact you and see you again. Also, to know that I love you and I’ve missed you so much. 
Maroua Malak Beddal. 
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Dear Dad, 
How can you be here living with me? It still feels like you are absent of my life. It’s been an eternity since we really talked. 
Daddy, you might think I don’t care about you, but you mean a lot to me. When I was little, in Haiti, I defended you when Mom was mad at you. I remember one day she was saying how you were never available and that was really irresponsible.  I said,  “Mommy, he’s just busy with work and probably tired. Give him some rest.” I knew you were in the U.S., probably working, but it made my heart tear apart. 
Since I didn’t grow up with you, we live together now as strangers. We don’t really know each other. I wish it were different. I wish I were more comfortable talking to you and that we shared more memories. I wish you could be there more often. Maybe I should have acted differently when I arrived to the U.S. I should have opened up to you more. Then, maybe, you would know more about me.  
But something blocked me from being open with you. Maybe it was the fact that you never told me why you were never there for me, or why you had time for my siblings but not for me. You were there for every important moment of their lives, their first communions, their graduations. The were there for me was my baptism, but I was a baby and I can’t remember anything. Even now, you forget when I ask you to come to something important.  
Maybe it’s because I feel excluded. You already made your life with a new woman and my sister and two brothers, so I didn’t feel like I was really part of that family.  
But the past doesn’t really matter right now. I just want the future to be better. I’m not sure how this will happen, when you work late at night and I go to school very early. It’s like we don’t have time for each other. I don’t tell you often that I love you, but I do love you. I hope you know that I really missed you during these past 17 years. I want us to get closer. There’s so much I want to tell you. I want to tell you how I’m really passionate about debate, about how I want to be a computer software engineer. There’s so much I want to know, so much I want you to explain to me. Many things have hurt me recently. And I think it was hard for you, too. I wish we had more time to discuss these things. 
Just know one thing. I will always be your daughter, no matter what. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, I’ll always be there for you. And, I don’t want us to be distant anymore. 
I love you a lot, Daddy, 
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Dear Uncle Rui, 
You do not know how I wish you were here with me. 
I miss many things that I did with you, like our jokes, our laughter when you told or made something funny, when you called me “Kukinha,” and also when you said that I’m turning more black because of the sun.  
My best memory of you was when we were cleaning the house. We put on a kizomba song, and you showed me how to dance with the broom. It was so funny. 
Oh Uncle, I really miss you. I did not have time to say goodbye to you or hug you. When I received the news of your death, my world went down. It was the worst thing in the world. 
I still remember the day you died, May 14, 2016. It was Capeverdean’s culture day at my school. I was so happy because I would present all the work that my group and I worked hard on. Before the presentation, my mother went to school to see me and she told me to go home with her, but I said that I did not present yet and my grade depended on it. She said ok and hugged me. With that hug, I felt many emotions that I did not known how to describe, but I acted normal because I was excited  about my presentation. 
After the presentation, my mother called me and told me to go my grandmother’s house and I said yes, because I was happy, and I wanted share my happiness with all my family. When I got close to my grandmother’s house, I saw people in front of it. I was confused but when I saw my mother I felt relaxed. When I got closer to her she hugged me tight and she started to cry. I was confused again until she told me the worst sentence ever: “Joseana, I’m so sorry to tell you, but Uncle Rui died.” When I heard her, my world went down, my happiness completely disappeared. It was a day that I will never forget, even with the passage of time. 
With love,  
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AFH Photo//Kiara Maher
On the cold night of  November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. I stayed up late so I could see the results trickle in, or at least I tried to. As the polls closed across the country, the look on my mother’s face became more and more tense. This was supposed to be a historic night for women everywhere, but things clearly weren’t going as expected. Eventually, I fell asleep because the next thing I knew my mom was shaking me awake, a decidedly grim look in her eyes. I knew what had happened. In my eyes, Trump was the most racist, sexist and dishonest slug known to mankind. THAT had become president. I knew my life would NEVER be the same. 
Not even a month after the elections, I started to notice a change in how people acted. To be honest, it had been ramping up for months, but I tried so hard to ignore the increasing hostility from strangers, usually white men. It struck me on one day in particular, the day I became BLACK, as if that was the only characteristic that defined me. While riding the train with my mom, I was confronted by a woman who had the audacity to call me, a then-12-year-old boy who was quietly reading a book, the n-word. After that day I thought of myself as a different person. I thought of myself as a BLACK boy and not just a boy, which was new to me. I had never thought myself to be black. My mom is white, and my dad is black, but I had always seen myself more white than black. That interaction changed my view of who I am and it continues to evolve today. 
I would like my contributions to this newspaper to be used as tools of education. There are so many people out there that would scoff at a 13-year-old journalist, but if you are reading this that means you took time out of your life to hear the story of a young man trying to end racism. I can only do so much, but I know that I can share how racism, and all the “isms”  are hurting not only me, but everyone around me. Racism is often ignored and dismissed. There are so many misunderstood people out there—Muslims, Jews, refugees, homeless, and even teenagers—just to name a few. All of these groups have to endure pain and hate just because they aren’t exactly like us. People shouldn’t be discriminated against due to their skin color, religion, sex, or race. 
About a month ago I came across a movie called “Loving,” which tells the story of the Loving v. Virginia court case of 1967, in which Richard and Mildred Loving fought for the right to have an interracial marriage. I was inspired to try and write about what we, the people of America, can do to end racism. I know I can’t do it alone, and that’s why I’m trying to help educate those around me who can’t see how bad things are because they have never really had to open their eyes to that reality.  
Hopefully, my articles detailing my experiences interviewing, interacting and volunteering with these marginalized communities can help open people's eyes and encourage them to join our war on racism. This is the mark I want to leave, the mark of an activist. I’m trying to bring the world together one 500-word article at a time.  
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