Today I “Woke up Black”. This Trayvon case is weighing heavy on my heart. Unlike my sisters and brothers who are not of color, I don’t have the privilege of distancing myself and waiting for the facts to be presented. Umoja is what we live by as a people. What is often forgotten, is that slavery is only 2-4 generations away for many African/Black Americans. The wounds are still fresh. The effects still linger. I’m praying for my unborn child today. I’m praying that as a person of color, as an African-American, he or she will guard their hearts against color blindness. I’m praying that my little bi-racial baby would walk in the footsteps of his/her daddy, using whatever influence that the good Lord gives it, to build bridges and to bring awareness and light to a jaded world that unknowingly ignores injustice. I’m praying that this little baby would embody the compassion, wisdom, and power, of the many freedom fighters who have gone before it. I’m praying that this child would be so much better than I am, because my heart is hurting, and the emotion that I turn to when hurt, is anger.
angry hurt that over, and over again, my perspective and experience as a person of color has been degraded by assumptions like: “This is not a racial case”, “Trayvon wasn’t so innocent”, “We don’t know Zimmerman’s story”. I’ve reduced these very well elaborated thoughts to very simple sentences, but I think the general gist is there. Here’s the thing…the best way to put it is in the words of a famous, crude, ridiculously offensive musical. “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist”. Just about everything that happens in our nation is motivated in some part by race. I’ll just leave it at that.
Secondly, we all know that many of the pictures circulating the internet of Trayvon, were in fact, NOT Trayvon. :smh: But if they were, and just assuming that everything that we have read about Trayvon and his suspensions from school, him wearing a hoodie is true, someone, please tell me, WHY DOES IMAGE IMPACT JUSTICE?! Why, oh why, oh why?? I really appreciated President Obama’s comment regarding the matter; “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” Ditto, Mr. President. To know that we live in a world, where your sense of fashion dictates the empathy and compassion that others feel for you, as a soon to be mother and social worker/advocate, disgusts me.
Thirdly, it is very true that we don’t know Zimmerman’s story. I pray that the real story would come to surface, and that Latinos and African/Black Americans can begin having honest dialogue, and forgiving each other for the hurts that we have caused, both intentionally, and as a result of our cultures being pitted against one another in this nation (more on that later). But, even without the facts, we must mourn that a 17 year old child was killed, for virtually no reason. I don’t care if you don’t think that 17 is young enough to be labeled as a child; Just you wait until you’ve had one, are preparing to pop one out, or you have really thought about the life cycle, and how much more life, how many more experiences, how much more growth , should happen after 17 years.
And..I think that is the part that hurts. It hurts that once again, I feel abandoned by the rest of America. Ok, I’ll just say it. I feel abandoned, and I feel that my people have been abandoned by White America. I feel that we are mourning alone. No one stands besides us when we grieve over a lost child. Who acts as the hands of Jesus, promising to bring comfort to those who mourn? We do. As we have always done, we must stand in solidarity, because if we don’t support each other, what we have learned time and time again, is that no one will. No one. And so our walls continue being fortified. We continue gaining trust in one another, and losing trust in ‘everyone else’. We continue being the ‘other’ voice, the voice that is not justified, or rational, because we are unheard.
And while I pray that things will be for different my children, and the children of my ancestors’ wombs, I know that tomorrow will be the same. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up, Black.