In lieu of a verdict I was asked to re-post – A Letter to My Son

The Verdict – A Letter to My Son

July 14, 2013

To my dear son, Chaz,

Through the night I wrote this letter to you a million times over in my heart, in my mind, and now I finally write it, despondent, yet determined.

I held you last night when I told you the outcome. I looked deep into your eyes and could tell you could not wrap your head around it. I could not fully explain to you how as a black boy you are on the wrong side of justice. I kissed you and kissed you again as I tucked you in. I felt guilty sending you to bed alone. I could not explain to you how we would protect you as you walk around our tree-lined corner to play with your friends. We can’t protect you as go to and leave your gated school community. Truth be told, as we think back to Newtown we can’t even protect you while your in your private school. What about when you begin to travel on your own inside and outside of communities of color, when you venture into the ultra privileged communities of some of your classmates?

There has always been a code of conduct stressed to keep black boys, young black men, and grown black men safe in this country. We have shared and stressed these visible and invisible codes with you while trying not to strip you of your confidence, spirit, power, and manhood. Since slavery and Jim Crow Black families have been traditionally harsh on our kids, in particular our sons, all in an effort to “keep them in line”, to “know their place” in order to keep them safe and alive.

Where do we go from here? We refuse to beat you in to submission so that white folks won’t kill you. So that black folks, still enraged by the vestiges of post traumatic slave syndrome won’t kill you. So that you are not stopped and frisked by police. So that the illegal and legal guns in the hands of ordinary civilians who claim to stand their ground don’t kill you. So that wearing the supreme comfort a hoodie provides doesn’t kill you.

Chaz, you always ask me why I consistently stare at you. It’s because of your beautiful deep sepia skin tone. Midsummer has ebonized you into unimaginable beauty. You are young, gifted and black. I see a King, and many remark the same. Soon you will become taller and stronger, a threat, a target. And, I’m afraid that the privileged communities that we work so hard to place you in won’t value your beauty, strength, and intelligence, hence won’t be able to protect you.

The verdict reminded us that you are indeed not valued here in America. The verdict set a real and dangerous precedent. Your Dad, and I are broken up about Trayvon and the countless other injustices, at times feeling helpless, but not hopeless. We are determined to work within and outside of systems, inside and outside of communities, becoming part of movements to protect you and all kids of color. You and your peers – boy and girl, straight and gay, differently abled, rich and poor, immigrant, black, white, asian, latino, south east asian, native american, bi-racial, and other deserve a better future.

My son, you come from kings and queens, civilizations forced to the Americas to build till death. You emerged from the shackles of slavery to reclaim your freedom and pursuit of happiness, to live the dreams of those who died so that you may live. The shackles are strong and long lasting, but don’t you fear being young, gifted and black, we’ve got your back.

Love, Mommy & Daddy

 

Related Post:

Reflections on a Blog Post – The Verdict – A Letter to My Son, by a White Mother

 

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