Being a mother during these times can be confusing and scary. We all pray that we’re giving our children all the information and preparations they will need to succeed. But is that enough? I remember speaking to my grandmother about raising a black son in the 70/80’s in a city like Chicago. It’s crazy that her fears weren’t any different from what I fear for my children today. Then to later find out that my uncle, my grandmother’s son would find himself at the end of a pointed white finger accompanied by the famous words “that’s the guy” that would land him locked away until the day he died. I would later find out some of the gruesome details of the crime, and I was shocked, even though I don’t even remember my uncle. I guess I was shocked that someone in my family was accused of something so horrible. One day I asked my grandmother did she think he did it, and with the most sincere voice, she said, “ I don’t know, but back then, it didn’t matter. If a black man wasn’t where he should be in the middle of the night, they could place him wherever they want. I swear that statement means more to me now than it ever did back then.
Listening to the stories of today and recalling my questionable encounters with the police along with my grandmother’s statement, we have to accept that LIFE just isn’t valued, especially BLACK and BROWN LIVES. This isn’t anything new, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why this is so shocking for some. Whether it’s been fatally or by mass incarceration, lives are being taken away at an unsettling rate. Some with a life-changing decision that we make on our own and, in some cases, a decision that wasn’t even ours at all. Yes, I know that without a doubt, no matter your color, you can find yourself on the receiving end of police brutality and excessive force. But, that’s a conversation some people aren’t ready to have yet. I have friends that are cops, and I have friends that may break the law but neither deserve to die. It scares me to the core to know that some people genuinely believe that an OCCUPATION should have the power to end life without consequences. I don’t want ANY HUMAN with that type of power. Do you understand the arrogance that this type of power brings? Ending life should NOT be that easy…
”Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
As my family and I prepare to move from overseas back to the states, this uncertain yet familiar fear comes over me. Living overseas has given us this unrealistic opportunity to live in a bubble. It’s such a different feeling to walk around and not FEAR anything. Now I’m not naïve like its crime-free here in Japan, but I will tell you that I’m not looking over my shoulder every time I see a police car behind me. Growing up in a not so safe neighborhood outside of Chicago to living a carefree life here in Japan has me on edge with the thought of moving back stateside. Then to be moving to a state that doesn’t have the best reputation in the RACE department scares the crap out of me, having a child that’s of driving age scares the crap out of me, and having a black family in a land filled with people with hate in their hearts scares the crap out of me. My husband and I have to have these deep conversations with our little sheltered children, and it breaks my heart while also infuriates me. As parents, no matter your race, we have every day “harmful and dangerous” things to warn them about, but for BLACK and BROWN people, we have some fine print we have no choice to discuss on top of that. Having this genuine fear for my family is a sad reality for a lot of BLACK and BROWN families. Not only do we deal with anxiety and uncertainty living in our own neighborhoods, but we also have this unspoken fear of the police officers that patrol the very communities we call home.
”MY SKIN TONE IS NOT A THREAT!!!!!!”
Growing up in the bubble my family provided me with, I didn’t understand that some people in this world would take my skin tone as a threat. That’s heartbreaking and quite belittling actually! To know that no matter what we do with our lives and no matter what we accomplish, we are a THREAT simply because of our skin tone. How do I explain this to my children? How would you describe this to a child? How do you explain to a child that some families TEACH HATE? How do you skate between encouraging caution without sparking fear? I’m here to tell you that it is not an easy task at all. Everyday BLACK and BROWN families are having the kinds of conversations that our counterparts could never imagine having with the young people in their lives. Can you imagine having to practice how to interact with a “real” police officer and trying to explain what to do when they encounter a “bad apple” police officer? LOL! I have to shake my head at the “bad apple” rebuttal because, for some insensitive reason, you “bad apple” preachers think you can tell the difference. HA!! Whelp, I’m here to tell you that you can not, and in so many well-documented situations, it can be too late before you figure it out.
The year 2020 has been a roller coaster. From protests, riots, and a pandemic with the Covid-19 virus, it’s like we’re in a terrible predictable movie. But, I will say that it has also sparked some much-needed conversations about police brutality towards EVERYONE and the unjust murders of entirely too many BLACK and BROWN men AND women in this country. It has brought together people that just a few years ago were arguing about taking a knee during the National Anthem. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, I have to have hope. Hope is the only way I don’t react out of anger, even if it’s justified. Hope keeps me encouraging my husband, my father, my brother, and my friends to stay positive while fighting for a country that only SEES them when they’re in uniform. Hope keeps me letting my children experience life even though I want to lock them away from the ugliness in this world. I have to hold on to my children and the people around me tighter than I ever have. People who know me personally know that I was never a hugger, but I am now. I will hug anyone because I’ll rather have a genuine embrace to be my last memory with the people I love.
“When the world is a unhappy place, I just need you to hold me”
As an empath, the last few years have slowly taken a toll on my mental. I had to put a screen up so I wouldn’t go crazy with all this mess coming so fast and so bluntly. Now, I know that as a community, we have a fight on our hands as we DEMAND our right to live, so for me to be ready, I knew I had to stop SOME of the engagement. I had to change my reactions so I can prepare my children better. My words and conversations were so emotional that they weren’t getting the information they needed from me. Now I’m still telling people about themselves (lol). KNOW DAT!! Just not as much! I also had to be selective with the videos I watched because the constant visuals of death and brutality was beginning to have a negative impact on me. We all have to continue to fight for each other and ourselves. Some people are finally listening, so we can’t stop now. But don’t forget to disconnect every now and then. Take a break to just be in your happy place with the people who care about you. Trust, you can still be “WOKE’’ and take a pause. Love on the people that genuinely LOVE you, SEE you, SEE your COLOR, SEE your HISTORY, and ACKNOWLEDGE your current frustrations. I pray with my whole heart that everything that’s going on in the world today, the conversations that are taking place, the policies that are being implemented, and the incredible unity that I have witnessed with my own eyes will have a positive outcome for the generations after me. That we will FINALLY be able to look back and see progress…
We have to be the community we want, and we have to work hard to get it. Our children and their children’s lives depend on us getting it right.
Be blessed and be a blessing
Fabulously Flawed and Trying