When I think of Black culture I think of my parents and grandma. Their stories were the only representation I had of what it meant to be Black during their time. My dad would tell me stories about growing up on the Southside of Chicago. He grew up in a two bedroom home with his 5 siblings, and would share the basement with 2 of his brothers. My dad would tell me stories about how he grew up poor, and didn't have the "luxuries" (he'd call it) that I have today. He always told me that he works as hard as he does because he wanted to give us what he didn't have. My mom grew up in Inglewood, California and comes from a family of 5. She too grew up poor. My late grandfather (her dad) was a vet in the Korean War and developed an alcohol addiction after he returned from the war. My grandmother raised her and her 3 sisters, and her other sister is in an institution because she's mentally impaired. My mom always instilled in me and my siblings that we had to work hard because nothing in life is free. My grandmother grew up in Oklahoma during the time of segregation. She told me the fear she felt living through that time, especially after the killing of Emmett Till. Growing up I always remember certain proverbs my mother told to me that I will tell my children. She would always say, "I don't have to do nothing, but stay black and die," which means I don't owe you anything. These stories I will pass on to my children one day.
– Dayna Hall