Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin was my son

My 7 year old at the 'Justice for Trayvon Martin' Rally in Washington, DC

Every life is precious. When a child dies pain is evident and when a child dies at the hand of violence, pain runs rampant. Whether it’s at the hand of a thug, a drunk driver or an overzealous neighborhood watch captain, losing a child leaves a void. And when an absurd law allows the perpetrator to go free, the pain is amplified.  Trayvon Martin’s story brought me to tears. I’ve never lost a child, so I don’t know what Sybrina Fulton is going through. However, I feel connected to her and I can empathize with her.  
My 'Trayvon' doing home work in November 2011

As a mother of a 17 year old, hoodie loving son, this story hits close to home. Too close. Trayvon’s demise could have been my son’s story and that’s my reality. There’s never a moment when I’m not concerned about my son’s safety when he leaves home. My husband and I have had conversations with him. We tell him to be mindful, act responsibly and always be aware of his surroundings. Sadly, he understands that he can do everything right and because he’s a black young man in America, he could be a victim of racial profiling.  So when the call for action came to participate in a rally, I had to respond because Trayvon was my son.  I taught my children that they must act whenever injustice is present. This injustice required my action and those of my entire family.  

My 7 year old perched on his dad's shoulder
Participating in a rally and standing with others is good, but not nearly enough. So many of us are guilty of profiling and creating prejudices about those we encounter. How many of us look at others that don’t meet our 'standards' and refer to them as ‘ghetto’ or ‘hood’. How many of us judge young men who wear braids or deadlocks and even hoodies? How many of us look at someone who may be wearing an outfit that may not flatter them and we immediately judge them and talk about them with a negative tone? We are the change that we seek. That change must begin with each one of us.  Be aware of the laws that govern your State. Become an active participant in our democracy. Hold your lawmakers accountable and ensure that your views are being represented.  Vote. Teach your children empathy. Be aware and cautious but not prejudice and judgmental. We can make a difference.   

My teenage daughter and son listen intently to the message
So I pray not only for the family of Trayvon Martin, but also for the families of young black men who die at the hand of violence everyday because all life is precious. As we experience anger and hurt and seek justice for Trayvon, let us look inward and become the change we seek and stop racial profiling. Be responsible, be prayerful be empathetic and embrace your journey.

1 comment: