Our Son

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.

Please Sign The Petition Here.

9 thoughts on “Our Son

  1. Breaks my heart and horrifies me that this has to be part of black mothering – preparing your children, and particularly your sons for meeting an onslaught of racism, some of it deadly.

    • It breaks my heart too. It seems as though every week a new name is added to the list of victims. Right now I am gathering signatures for another petition. We have to work hard–together–to turn this around.


  2. The more we understand that we have to stand up for all children every where, the greater the opportunity for humanity to change and move to a framework that values all human life.

  3. Wonderful words Ekere, Thank you.
    They take me to remember, how I knew and planned, mapping out, how different my life would have to be if I were to give birth to a son. The changes in lifestyle, domicile, work, relationships I felt would be necessary to raise a black man well and more importantly safely.
    I remember the feeling of sinking and dying in the pit of my stomach that turned to an umbelievable joy when one girlfriend present at the birth of my daughter mistook the umbilical cord for a penis and said “she’s had a boy.” only to be corrected by the midwife; “No, it’s a girl.”
    If only there were an easy way to change the situaltion. A word, thought or deed that could undo the lies. That could make us welcome despite the shades of our skin. That would make our sons safe. That could allow our daughters the dignity of being a person before being a gender definition.
    “Until the killing of black mothers son’s is as important as the killing of white mothers son’s, we who believe in Freedom cannont rest” – Berniece Johnson Regan

  4. Arresting! Your writing,of course. Under arrest…well let us say, that single vigilante needs to be behind bars. Just as our own black men who kill their girlfriends babies
    because they cannot handle taking care of them. I am beyond childbearing age, but I have a son, who, and I thank the Almighty, has come through many a close call with someone on the wrong end of a gun…just for being. And yes, as he came of age, and no longet needed permission to go out, I fretted until he returned home. I had one on one sessions with precinct captains and community service officers. I blasted a supermarket manager who assumed he was a thief – face to face with teachers who, in his words, did more keeping order in the classroom than teaching, and assumed my son did not want to learn. We removed him from that environment as soon as we were able, only to put him in another with boys who had been “spoiled” by their mothers, and who were about as biased as they could be. Each year I would ask the question, “do you want to go back”? And each year the answer was “yes”. What has that done for my boy? It has made him a man who can fight his battles with words, when needed. A father who can be a commanding presence whenit comes to his daughters’ protection. A caring husband, a citizen who looks out for his community, a loving son who is capable of ksharing feelings with his mother, and who is attentive to his aging parents needs. I still ask him to call when he gets home after a visit with us. Why? Because I still worry, and probably will until my life ends. While skin color has made us victims of this society, it has also, for the most part, made us strong. Remember, most of us are here because our ancestors survived the middle passage. If they could, so can we! .

    • “I still ask him to call when he gets home after a visit with us. Why? Because I still worry, and probably will until my life ends.” This should not be y/our reality.

      I worry about my husband. I worry about my students. And they have had experiences that justify my fears. I refuse to accept this terror. Just like you refused.

      Thank you for these beautiful, searing words.

      Your Cousin 🙂

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