It’s 2:15 AM and I’m still up just thinking about all the implications of the Zimmerman verdict. I watched the trial waiting for some major points to be made: Trayvon Martin had the right to be in a public place without being stalked, he had the right to stand his ground and fight back, and he had the right to get home safely.
Of course, all I can think about is how scary it is to have brought my precious son into a world where the Voting Rights Act can be gutted in the 21st century with the logic that it’s no longer needed because it has worked (never mind that it has worked THIS very year). I’ve brought him into a world where when a man shoots an unarmed teen, the murdered teen has to stand trial, not the shooter. I’ve brought him into a world where the family dynamics of the murdered teen is a key part of the story (just imagine if he was raised by a single mother like me). I’ve brought him into a world where although I don’t immediately leave a movie theater when a weird looking white person comes in for fear that he will shoot the place up, it is considered acceptable testimony to listen to a woman talk about how she was robbed by a black boy, even though that particularly black boy had nothing to do with the case. I’ve brought him into a world where wearing a hoodie in the rain is suspicious. I’ve brought him into a world where even as the unemployment rate continues to decrease, the unemployment rate of blacks continues to increase. I’ve brought him into a world where you can go to jail for firing a warning shot when someone who admits to abusing you is approaching you and threatening you, but not for murdering an unarmed boy who wanted some Skittles and tea.
I pray that I can instill in my son a strong sense of self worth. And I pray that others will respect his worth. I pray that my child will not be seen as a stereotype, but as the bearer of light he is. I don’t even know how to approach preparing him for a life in this world. Do I make sure he wear galoshes and a plastic poncho any time it’s raining? Do I drive him around the corner no matter what? Do I stock my pantry with snacks for a lifetime? Do I tell him to defend himself or to run or to just take whatever is thrown at him JUST in case he’s murdered and he needs to be clearly the victim? Of course, there is NO way for me to adequately prepare him in a place where people are justified in jumping to irrational conclusions.
So, Friday, as I was thinking about the possibilities the verdict could bring, I tweeted this:
So what are we going to do after today? Regardless of the verdict? My issue with marching is that I don’t always see forward movement after the fact.
Can we commit to joining a mentor group and giving back to our kids?
Can we agree to start writing and calling our legislators and staying vigilant about new laws that adversely affect our communities?
And I added these tonight:
Can we agree to start/continue educating ourselves about local and state politics and voting accordingly?
Can we agree to start focusing on building up our communities and knowing our neighbors so we can look out for each other? We are obviously all we got.
Can we stop making excuses for grown people who choose to not contribute to our children and start holding each other to higher standards?
Can we begin to invest in our own businesses and communities and watch where we circulate our dollars?
We can’t afford to be two day/two week warriors. We have to protect our kids through civic involvement and community engagement.
Now is the time to rediscover our own worth and wield the economic power we all know we have but don’t use.
I guess I’ll try to sleep now. But I’m sure it won’t be as restful as I need it to be. Another sad day in America. It’s becoming a norm. What’s next, people?
One thought on “My son could be Trayvon Martin.”
WOW, I am in tears after reading this. You made so many awesome points. I fear will really increase the attack on black boys. This verdict has made me change the focus of my program for the rest of the summer. I will be working training our boys how to protect themselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Thank you for what you do. Yes, your son and all the boys I work with is a potential Emmett, Oscar, or Trayvon..