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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles that were shared in partnership with BMe Community’s #BlackMenLove to remind readers of who, what and how deeply black men love during this final weekend of Black Family Month. BMe is a growing network of all races and genders, committed to building better communities across the U.S. Share it and read more at BMe Community, or reach out by email. Read the second story here.

Dear Sekou,

Simply saying I love you isn’t enough to express how I feel about being your father. However, it’s exactly how I feel. I grew in love with you from the moment I found out you were in your mother’s womb. I grew in love because I knew that you would be a great addition to the world we live in. I knew that inside of you was something special, even magical.

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As your fingers and toes formed inside your mother’s belly, a new space was being created inside my heart, just for you. It’s a sacred space from which comes the deepest, most pure love: a father’s love. 

Not only do I love you as my son, but I love you as the divine gift and human being you are. You are the purest part of me and your mother wrapped in beautiful brown skin, a dazzling smile and a golden spirit that draws people near.

Sekou, I love your musical laughter, your inherent intelligence and your amazing sense of humor. The moments we spend together are priceless, and no matter where I am in the world, a simple thought of you causes me to smile from deep within. 

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Son, love is one of the most powerful emotions we have because it inspires us to give our all and sacrifice everything for those we care about. Love is sacred because it comes from the most authentic space inside of us—our heart.

As males, we are often taught that love is a weak emotion, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A tremendous amount of courage is required to love someone because to love is to trust and believe in the greater good. 

The world we live in today doesn’t always look like love, but trust me, love is there. There are so many wonderful and caring people in the world, and you are truly one of them. As your father, I promise to do three things for the rest of your life: I will love you absolutely to the best of my human capabilities. I will always have your back and be a guiding source of wisdom upon whom you can rely, and I will be here to encourage you through my actions and deeds because they speak louder than words. 

Son, not only are you the future, but you are also the present, and your place on earth right now, right here, in this very moment, is more important than anything else to me. You are a reflection of the many sons throughout the world who are making it a better place. Thank you for bringing me so much laughter and light. Thank you for inspiring me to work harder to ensure your future is secured. Thank you for allowing me to fully be the father and man I am destined to be. 

Love always,

Daddy

Shaka Senghor is national outreach representative for BMe Community, an author, public speaker and a principal founder of Cut50, which works to cut the U.S. prison population in half by 2015.