A Mother’s Plea

Image.jpgWhen I was in the third grade, way back in the 80s, I won my first city-wide writing award. It was for a paper about Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. famous I Have a Dream Speech. I didn’t keep the paper, but I can imagine my rendition had something to do with how I wanted the world to give me an equal shot. Life experiences taught me very quickly that “equal” was a dream deferred for children of color in the United States.

I held out hope though that making good decisions and life choices, may bare equality for my future children. As my ninth mother’s day approaches my heart is heavy with the weight of reality that my children are NOT safe and still will not be treated equally. I’m also hit with the reality that this is an exclusive burden that mothers of color in this country share. But it’s one I hope all mothers can imagine to be absolutely heartbreaking!

You see, as I examine the world we live in, my reality is my children are NOT safe in school and I’m referring to disparities of expulsions particularly of African American boys. I’m sure the parents of the 12-year-old boy suspended in Ohio for staring at a female caucasian student understands. My children are NOT safe in their home and I’m referring to 7-year-old Aiyana Jones who was shot in her home and 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was gunned down in the park across the street from where he lived. My children are NOT safe in cars like 17-year-old Jordan Davis who was shot in a car because of loud music. My children are NOT safe to walk in their neighborhood, just think about Trayvon Martin. It’s NOT safe for my children to go shopping just think of Nordstrom Rack, where three black teens in Brentwood had police called on them while they shopped for prom. They are NOT even safe at college, just ask Yale graduate student Lolade Siyonbola who endured police questioning for sleeping in her dorm’s common area or my female assistant who had an officer pull his gun on her during a routine stop while in graduate school. They are NOT safe from civilians or law enforcement. They are NOT safe inside or outside. They simply are NOT safe.

I’ve never understood Dr. Martin Luther King’s plea that his “children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” more than I do on this very day. I wholeheartedly pray that our children will have unending Favor, Grace and Mercy and that they will be Blessings to others and be committed to carrying out their God given assignments without interruption from those that mean them harm. On this Mother’s Day, pray for your children and pray for mothers of color who carry this extremely heavy burden each and every day, including Mother’s Day.

 

Sincerely,

Chocolate Mother

 

 

Photos by Laura Saavedra

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Fear

My natural demeanor is one of little fear. Not that I don’t experience it, but my mind doesn’t get stuck there. The Taurus in me, says the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach will go away with a proper plan of attack. But having children places a mountain of fear for me that’s much more complicated. It’s the unknown, the fact that no matter the plan, there’s an awful lot you can’t control with your children; when they are sick, when they misbehave or when the world simply mistreats them.

On February 26, 2012, 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member’s home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. Each day more and more details about this case and the man that took his life, George Zimmerman is revealed. But the more I hear, the more petrified I become.

I am not related to Trayvon. I don’t live in Florida and I don’t know exactly what happened that night. But I do have a son. A little boy that I think is precious. A child that I believe has the world at his feet, endless possibilities and an agenda to change the world.

At just 7-months I am in awe of the simplest of his accomplishments. He can stand by himself for a whopping 5 seconds. He can wave his hand to say hello. He can even pick up a cheerio, switch hands and place it in his mouth without dropping it. I tell you the boy’s a genius.

But it’s not just what he can physically do, but it’s his power. He can make the world stop by flashing his dimples. He can make stress disappear with a hearty laugh. He can make me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world with a single glance. I tell you the boy’s a magician.

In all that he is and all I know he will be, I fear for him. I don’t trust the world we live in. I fear people will hate him for his strength, his intelligence, for his being. I fear something so futile as a black stereotype can keep him from his greatness. I fear the closer he gets to receiving his God given inheritance people will judge him. They will tell him black boys don’t like to read. They will tell him black boys don’t go to college. They will tell him he’s not attractive. They will tell him he’s not worthy and when he uses his all the gifts me and his daddy have placed in his tool box to fend off the hype, they will try to find another way to dim his light.

I am afraid to raise a black man in this society. Lord, give me strength to prepare him for what he will encounter. Lord, give him strength to endure. Lord, keep him safe and free from harm and grant us your peace and mercy. In Jesus name…