Many know of Lonnie Chavis as young "Randall" in the hit series This Is Us. He is the young version of Sterling K. Brown and Niles Fitch's character, the adopted son of the "Pearson's." At only 13 years old, Lonnie is incredibly smart and found himself wrestling with his thoughts after the tragic death of George Floyd. So he wrote a letter to his mom on the subject of being Black in America.
Lonnie Chavis' Beautiful Letter
During a time of great turmoil in the United States, many found themselves upset at the countless needless deaths of American's of color at the hands of police officers and George Floyd's death struck a chord with young Lonnie. He penned his thoughts and feelings in a letter to his mother.
He shared his letter on Instagram saying: "My life matters, but does it? America paints a very clear picture of how I should view myself. America shows me that my Blackness is a threat, and I am treated as such. I actually didn’t learn about being Black and what that would mean for me until I was 7 years old."
"I thought I was a peach man, so my parents educated me on being a Black man really quick with long talks, books and movies like Amistad and Malcolm X. I was overwhelmed with confusion, fear and sadness. I had to lean on my faith in Christ for hope, protection and understanding."
With hundreds of thousands of followers, Lonnie used his platform to bring awareness to what it has been like for him.
"Being a young Black boy in Hollywood made it even more fearful. I can recall the time when I realized there are not a lot of people that look like me on these Hollywood sets and asked my mom where all the Black people were. I also remember being invited to events but then being treated very poorly by security or entrance checkers, like I wasn’t supposed to be there, until I had a publicist to announce me."
Lonnie writes so eloquently and poetically about such heart-breaking circumstances he and millions of others face every day.
"I can recall a time on set when I started crying listening to an actor portray a racist grandmother toward my character. The director and writers told me that they didn't need me to cry for the scene. However, it was hard for me not to cry as I witnessed what I had just learned was my reality. I wasn't acting, I was crying for me. Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn't hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism? I can."
Lonnie explained what it feels like to be mistaken for other people and the countless unjust experiences he and his family have suffered simply because of the color of his skin. He, a successful Hollywood actor was accused of stealing, his mother repeatedly pulled over while driving him to set because she drives a BMW, his father being ripped from his home on his 10th birthday leaving him and his siblings gripped in fear. "Can you imagine holding on to your three little brothers while thinking that you are all going to be orphans? I can."
"If you don't understand what’s going on in the world, then understand this: This is what the world looks like for me. A 12-year-old Black boy. This is my America. Policies need to change, laws need to change, the police need to change, Hollywood needs to change, hearts need to change, America needs to change. Change has got to happen for unarmed Black citizens to not live in fear of being murdered. Can you imagine being me in 2020 and wondering what the future holds? I can't."
Lonnie Chavis has launched his own anti-bullying campaigns and the #FixYourHeart movement, all the while working hard to grow his success in Hollywood. You can read the young mans letter in its entirety here: