The story always seems to begin the same.
They just wanted to go home.
But the story always seems to end the same.
They are not able to make it home. Their loved ones miss them, and they will never truly understand why their baby is no longer here in the physical form.
I can only imagine the pain of a mother or father losing their child – to something as innocent as just wanting to go home.
All their lives, parents try to protect their babies from the folks we generally classify as evil doers. The Danger Strangers that McGruff the Crime Dog urged you to steer clear from.
Apparently, the overzealous neighborhood watchman, rogue cop, and suspicious store owner weren’t on that list.
Earlier today, I saw a post from a mom that was sharing how her young child was processing the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case. Essentially, the child said they wanted to be White – they did not want to die because they were Black.
That broke my heart.
In a reality that is new for these children, how do we calm or eliminate this fear? A nightlight or a warm embrace will not stave off the monster that lurks freely in the streets – consuming the lives of innocent children that never had the chance to live out their potential.
But these fates are not new. You can replace the cold, hard concrete of a BART platform in Oakland with the thick branch of a polar tree in Tennessee. Blood on the leaves. Blood on the street. The difference is all but non-existent. The crime: Black skin, usually a male looking “suspicious,” and wanting to just simply live. They say that history repeats itself – but in some ways, that history has never ceased. It is an evil that has been reincarnated and is resilient to any form of exorcism, purification, or cure. It’s racism.
Someday, I hope to have children. But I am honestly at a loss as to how to prepare them for a reality they are destined to face. It’s a painful and harsh reality in which saying “everything will be ok” just simply will not ease. It’s a promise that may be impossible to keep. I pray that The Lord has mercy on us all.