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I Can't Shake This

I first read about it a few weeks ago and thought to myself "why does this continue to happen in our community"? But - like many of you - I didn't stop to pay attention. Then on Friday, while scrolling through my Twitter stream - I read a tweet by Star Jones -

For me - that was enough. I spent the next 4 hours following everything that had to do with Trayvon Martin, and as I did, my heart broke a little more and a little more, to the point where all I could do was cry. There is no way I could listen to the 911 recording. I didn't want to hear someone else's son begging for his life. I just couldn't.

As I tucked my precious little brown boy in bed that night, I kissed him and my tears fell on his cheeks, because I was just so grateful I had my baby to kiss. Trayvon was his momma's baby. No matter how old they are - they are our babies.

I have heard some people question why we get involved with these kind of things only when race is involved, when little black boys are being killed every day by other black children. They ask is that ok? No. Absolutely not. It's also not ok for some want-to-be neighborhood watch captain to stereotype our boys and take their precious lives senselessly - and not be held accountable for it.

I haven't been able to shake this. In a conversation with my sister and brother-in-law last night, the tears came to my eyes just talking about it. We work so hard to raise these children. We pour our soul into them. We pray for them, we sacrifice for them, and in an instant, some neighborhood watch guy comes along and takes that. I can't shake that.

As my sister and brother-in-law pointed out, yes this case is about race, but the reality is, the world we are raising our children in is different. I pay $15 a week for my son to run around an indoor soccer field because I don't feel safe allowing him to run around out front unless I'm out there at all times. I live in one of those "gated community" type neighborhoods.

My brother-in-law made that real to me last night. He was talking about the fact that they didn't play organized sports until middle school because they were able to just go outside for hours and hours and play. Me and my sister looked at each other and said "so true". We used to ride our bikes all over Alamogordo. All over. We didn't have cell phones. We just played. Like kids are supposed to be able to do.

A few months ago while at our neighborhood park, my friend who lives just around the corner told me she sent her two oldest kids to the park and an older man walking around the park gave her son a brand new football. When she arrived at the park with her younger kids, he got in his truck and left. What was this man doing at this park with all these kids? Why did he leave as soon as she showed up? Why do we even have to worry about these things?

I am praying. Saturday I found myself not knowing what to pray for. I am praying for his parents. I am praying for peace in this world. I am praying for justice. I am praying that no child - black, brown, yellow, red, white - ever loses his or her life senselessly. I'm praying. Lord help.

I'm not trying to be poignant or make a strong social claim here - just simply a mother of a little boy feeling in my heart what I think any mother would feel. Just a mother whose heart is aching right now for Sybrina Fulton - Trayvon's mother who lost her baby.

I'll share what I would want to say if I could dig deep enough and think clearly enough to say it. Right now, my heart is the only thing able to speak. This piece is by Professor Melissa Harris Perry. His Name is Trayvon Martin.


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