A knot in my neck. Tears threatening to spill over the rims of my eyes while I prepare dinner. My two girls giggling in the adjacent room. Me, wondering what empty takes over when you know you’ll never hear your child laugh again. I am afraid I will unravel like a giant ball of string. Become a trail of of pain, disappointment,anger.
Yes. “If I had a son he would look Trayvon Martin” too.
When I was pregnant and did not know the sex of my child, I looked my fears in the face. My fears wore the face of a system that has never put me–or women who look like me–anywhere on its priority list.I live on the front lines of that battle daily and feel semi-adept at mapping out strategies for myself. That is what my poetry is for: defusing the landmine of silence that blows so many of our woman voices out of our throats. I can share my experiences with my daughters. Arm them to the teeth with self-love, courage, knowledge of their histories, love for Mother Earth. community and truth. And I was still scared. The idea of raising a Black boy in what Audre Lorde refered to as “the mouth of this dragon called america” frightened me enough that I considered never returning to the United States if I had a son. Of course the question remained: where would I go? What safe place could I go and raise a Black boy into a man without him falling victim to the low expectations set out for him? Where could I have him not be looked at as a target? Where could I raise him to be whole? I never did answer those questions in a way that satisfied me. I did not have to.
And now this.
I don’t have anything articulate to say about this murder. Just that if you are here, you are probably a mother too. Maybe you have already have put yourself in the shoes of Trayvon Martin’s mother and imagined your 17 year old going to the store and never coming back simply because someone out there believed that he did not have the right to walk through a certain neighborhood.And if you have tried to put yourself in the shoes of Trayvon Martin’s mother and imagined life without the sound of your child’s laughter, laments, dreams, ideas, then you have probably signed one of the petitions going around demanding that at the VERY least–Trayvon Martin’s killer be arrested. If you have not realized that Trayvon is your son too, then I am asking you to realize it now. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder and demand that people be held accountable for this horrible crime. We need to stand hand in hand and make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.