“ I can’t breathe” -George Floyd
SUZIE B. comes in the room dancing at her full delight. Ms. Walker is sitting in her comfy chair.
SUZIE B. (singing and rapping. This is her theme song) I’m Suzie B. That's who I be. That’s who I be. I’m Suzie B. That’s me... Suzie B. I’m. I’m. I’m. Suzie Beeeeee! Hi Walker!!!
MS.WALKER Hi Suzie B! It’s so good to see you today!
SUZIE B. It’s so good to see you too, Ms. Walker.
MS.WALKER How was your weekend?
SUZIE B. GREAT! I went fishing with my daddy. And I caught five fish!
MS.WALKER What!? Five fish!?
SUZIE B. Yep!
MS.WALKER That's amazing, Suzie B. I’m so proud of you!
Yeah...I I I caught five, and my daddy and my daddy and my daddy (a giggle of delight) He caught ZERO. He said it was because because, I was the sweetest, that the fish came to me. So so to help my daddy... I kissed him on the cheek so he could have some of my sweetness.
MS.WALKER Awww, Suzie B! That was so kind of you.
SUZIE B. Thank you! It’s important, Ms. Walker. Not everyone is born with sweetness like me. I’m sweet, and I know it. I’m I’m I’m like ice cream, and everyone loves ice cream. So, I like to give a little away, because it’s a nice thing to do.
MS.WALKER Yes, it is a nice thing to do. I wish that there were some adults that had a heart like yours.
SUZIE B. If you're an adult you should already have a heart like mine. My daddy does. He just needed a little touch of sweetness.
MS.WALKER Well some adults have a heart like you and some adults don’t.
SUZIE B. Really...?
MS. WALKER Yes, that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about today.
SUZIE B. My heart?
MS.WALKER Your heart. And why it’s important for people to keep love in their heart. Like you. There are some people in this world that don’t have a heart like yours; some people have hatred in their hearts.
SUZIE B. HATRED...!?
MS. WALKER Hatred.
SUZIE B. My daddy says having hatred in your heart is REALLY bad. Where does hatred come from?
MS.WALKER That’s a really good question, Suzie B. Well... I believe that no one is born with hatred. Hatred is a seed that's planted in your heart at a very young age. If you plant an apple seed, what kind of tree would you get?
SUZIE B. An apple tree!
MS. WALKER If you plant an orange seed, what would you get?
SUZIE B. An orange tree!
MS. WALKER If you plant a love seed, what would you get?
SUZIE B. A LOVE tree!
MS.WALKER And if you plant a hatred seed, what would you get?
SUZIE B. A hatred tree. This is so easy Ms. Walker! You get what you plant! DUHHHH!
MS. WALKER I wish everyone was as smart as you.
(Suzie B. laughs in agreement)
MS. WALKER In order for a seed to grow it needs water right? (Suzie B. nods her head in agreement) Hatred for another person of color is like a seed planted in a child’s heart. That seed is planted by parents, what they hear, or see around them when they are growing up. If the seed is not plucked out, it will continue to grow like those trees we just talked about. Until eventually, it’s this big dark tree rooted in something very dangerous. With fruit that could become very dangerous. Now, Imagine picking an orange from an orange tree. When you apply pressure to that orange, what always comes out is orange juice, right? But when you apply the same kind of pressure to a person's heart. Whatever seed that was planted will show its fruit. And sometimes those seeds produce very deadly fruit.
SUZIE B. Why would someone plant a seed like that in a child's heart?
MS.WALKER I don’t know. Maybe they too received the same seed when they were younger. You see, every heart is born just like yours. Pure and untouched. But sometimes people plant bad seeds. And sometimes people plant good seeds. The seed of hatred toward another, because of the color of their skin is the most scary one of all. It could lead to the death of your brother. Do you remember the story of Cain and Abel, and how Cain killed his brother Abel because he had sin in his heart?
SUZIE B. Yes.
MS.WALKER Once that pure heart get’s a seed of hatred and it goes unchecked, it could grow into something the heart believes to be true. I believe that's what happened last week.
SUZIE B. What happened last week?
MS. WALKER A white man killed a black man...because of the color of his skin.
MS.WALKER That’s what the whole world is asking. Why? SUZIE B. Because of the color of his? Because of the color of his skin.? That doesn’t make sense? Why would you kill someone because of the color of their skin. That's so stupid. Why, Ms. Walker?
MS.WALKER Because no one taught him better.
SUZIE B. Well whoever taught him was a really bad teacher...really BAD. Really really BAD...
MS.WALKER What Susie B.?
SUZIE B Oh no...
SUZIE B. (Suzie looks at her skin)... I’m black.
MS. WALKER I know.
SUZIE B Is someone going to kill me because of the color of my skin? (As Suzie speaks each word, she begins to lose control of her breathing more and more.) Oh no. No no no no no no no. Why would... I don’t like this, Ms. Walker. I don’t want to die. I don’t like this!!!
MS.WALKER Hey, look at me. Look at me... Let’s do our breathing exercise.
(Susie B. and Ms. Walker does a breathing Exercise. It's an exercise to help gain control of your breathing. They take all the time they need. )
MS.WALKER Remember, whenever we feel like we're going to explode. We do this, to calm us down. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to feel scared, but we need to be able control our emotions so it doesn’t control us. Understood.
(Suzie B. nods her head, while still calming herself)
Now, when you’re ready to talk, you can take a breath and speak.
SUZIE B. (Shakes her head. Take a deep breath. And speaks)
I don’t want to be black anymore.
MS.WALKER Awww, Susie B. That’s something you can’t change about yourself. It’s a part you. And I love the color of your skin.
SUZIE B. I don’t want to get killed because of it.
MS.WALKER None of us do. Just because someone doesn’t like the color of your skin. Doesn’t mean you're not valuable. People's opinion of you does not define you. You wanna know what your skin reminds me of?
SUZIE B. What?
SUZIE B. Like the kind you put on ice cream?
MS.WALKER Emmm hmmm. Sweet, yummy, and smooth. It's my favorite thing to add to ice cream. And when the sun hits it just right it sparkles. And you know what people call things that sparkle right?
SUZIE B. ... Magic.
MS.WALKER That's right. Magic. Your skin is like magic. Beautiful. Lovely. Unique. And the BEST of all. You were made in the image of God. And God doesn’t make ugly things. He made a GOOD thing when he thought of you.
SUZIE B. But cockie roaches are pretty ugly, Ms. Walker.
MS.WALKER (laugh) Yeah, they are... Wanna know a secret?
SUZIE B emm hmmm
MS.WALKER My favorite skin color is... yours.
SUZIE B. That's because you're black too, Ms. Walker!!!
MS.WALKER Huh? nooooo (She looks at her skin in surprise)...really, I didn’t even notice?
(Susie B and Ms. Walker share a laugh. They look at each other. Carrying each other's weight in the silence. Susie B. looks off, and a thought hits her.)
Promise me something. Never let anyone tell you that your skin isn’t beautiful. Not even yourself.
SUZIE B. I promise.
They share a moment.
SUZIE B. ... It's like rainbows.
SUZIE B. People. The people in the world. Are like rainbows. When I went fishing with my daddy. I saw a rainbow for the first time in my whole life. And it was so beautiful. It made me so happy to look at it. With all its different colors. Red. Yellow. Orange. Green...It It wouldn’ t be a rainbow if it just had one color. Like like it would just be blue like the sky. You wouldn’t see it. It has to have all the colors to be a rainbow. And the world needs that. The world needs people that love rainbows. And not just their color, but all the colors. We need more rainbow seeds.
MS.WALKER That’s right. People are like rainbows. We all need each other to be beautiful.
SUZIE B. I’m a rainbow planter. That’s what I am. That's what you see in my heart. I want to remind people that every color in the rainbows is beautiful. Black is beautiful. ...You know what....When I get home. I’m going to hug my white best friend. And I’m going to tell her that her skin color is beautiful. And my skin color magic. And together we can make rainbows. Yes! We can be rainbow planters together. And we can be like superheroes. And and and if there is a seed of hatred in someone's heart, because they had a bad
teachers. Then people. Then people. Then people can say... “Who we gonna call”... “Rainbow sisters” ... And we will pull out the seed of hatred in their heart so so so so it doesn’t grow into a deadly fruit. And then we will put the rainbow seeds. Then when they grow up it will be a rainbow in their heart instead of hatred. And they won’t kill people that look like me. Because they love people like me. And that’s. And that’s, what I’m gonna do, Ms. Walker.
MS.WALKER That sounds like a really good plan Susie B. I wanna be a part of the “Rainbow sisters” too. You know what? We better get started now, because we have a lot of rainbows to plant huh.
SUZIE B. YES! So we need...we need.. to make a plan, Ms. Walker.
MS.WALKER Yes, we---
SUZIE B You think we can save the whole world from the seed of hatred?
MS.WALKER I believe we have all we need inside of us to start. One heart at a time.
SUZIE B. One heart at a time.
Britney Walker-Merritte is an actress, writer, poet, and educator from Houston, TX. She wrote, performed, and produced A Night of Poetry, Poetry for Mothers, and The Voice that Speaks. Her goal in all that she does is to inspire lasting change in human hearts. She is a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a BA in Drama/Television/Film and a MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas. (britneywalkermerritte.com)