Little Brother


Before Israel Sullivan was born, his father – my cousin – Dustin Sullivan gave me the honor of being his godfather.  To say that I was humbled would be an understatement.  What can I teach him?  How can I have a positive impact on his life?  As someone who teaches young men about discipline, attitude and self-awareness, I knew that I could do no less for my own godson.  So I decided that my first interaction with him would be to tell him about who he is: as a male, as a person of color, and as an American.  But how to do it?

The night I met him, I made a point of looking into his eyes, and as he looked back into mine – the words hit me.  I could scarcely put him back in his parents’ arms and get to pen and paper, so that I may capture what He told me to write.  God is amazing that way.  He used my new bond with Israel to bring forth these words.  I gave them to his parents and I share them with you now so that you may in turn share it with the young man in your life – searching for knowledge of self.  To God be the glory.


Little Brother



Sweet soul wrapped in ebony

Blessed in masculinity

Our ancestors speak to you through me

And give to thee this charge:


Walk this Earth in soulful pride

Our happiness in your heart resides

Our pain and pleasure pressed inside

The hold of a slaver’s barge


Remind you of your destiny

Before the chains with lock and key

Stood stalwart men in line with kings

Skin sun-kissed ebony



Your Brothers are calling….



Black like people of the sun

Crimson like dawn-filled sky

Purple like robes

Wrapped ‘round your heart

Blue like truth you can’t deny

Brown like Earth beneath your feet

Are your Brothers who’ve never died



They whisper in your soul….



Charged: To thine own self be true….

For those who know you not

Will live in fear of you

They’ll try to tell you who you are

And what destiny holds for you



But your Big Brothers remind you….





You have crossed the burning sands

You’ve built empires with your hands

Hearken unto your name: Israel

God’s chosen people

Go forth and bless this land….


Sweet history gives its charge to thee:


Cherish thy mother

Protect thy sister

Honor thy father

And thy brother’s keeper be



–          Steve Berlack


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