Young, Black, and Living in a Desert

T'Erra Reed
3 min readAug 31, 2020


When I was born in Everett, Washington, my parents had just uprooted their entire lives from Southern California to an unfamiliar environment. Both coming from inner- cities, ( my mom raised in Inglewood and my dad raised in Long Beach) they relocated to my birth-town due to my dad being in the Navy.

My parents and me in Everett, Wa. Circa 1997.

Over time, my family relocated back to Southern California, thus embarking on a tour of different cities and towns to reside. First was Long Beach where I grew up the majority of my summers. Then there was Rosamond, which is on the outskirts of the Mojave desert and what I always called a ghost town. We then moved to Lancaster and long before we knew it, we were living in Palmdale, CA, where we have lived since I was in second grade. The vast majority of my life was spent growing up in the Antelope Valley, home of not only extremely cold winters and scorching summers but a long history of racial injustice in which is still a lot to uncover.

Map of Palmdale, CA.

I was in the third grade when I encountered my first experience with blatant racism. Some older kids had broken into my elementary school and spray-painted swastikas and derogatory racial slurs, with the occasional “white-power” phrase adorning the walls. My second encounter was in the fifth grade. A boy had called me the N-word, hard er, and up until then I never physically heard someone say it aloud. I was hurt, but soon that sadness turned to anger and before I knew it I had pushed the boy knocking him to the ground.

1995, Fox News did a piece on Nazi activity in the Antelope Valley.

These events in a way prepared me for all of the occurrences that will arise such as the widely covered event of Robert Fuller. Given the history of this town, the validity of the cause of death is one that has been eagerly questioned by the entire community. Twitter and Instagram (and occasionally LA Times)being the sole outlets I receive and discuss news events in general, caused an outpour of tweets and posts expressing an injustice bought to one of many Black individuals in our country.

With all this being said, my hometown may have had connections to a long history of racism; there have been strides to eradicate these racist organizations. With so many families moving from inner-cities in Los Angeles and moving to the Antelope Valley, the Brown and Black community out here have tripled. Strides are being taken to abolish these dated organizations, and there is still so much work that has to be accomplished.