One chilly evening last fall, we were visiting my grandmother. She has a church directly across from her home. Baylor had some sort of app on his phone, sort of like geocaching meets World of Warcraft type of thing. He jumped up from the couch and told me that there was something to find over at the church- could he go? I looked outside. It was dusk. It was drizzling. I looked at Baylor, in his jeans and black hoodie; such a stark contrast from his nearly glowing white skin. I told him he could go. He ran outside, threw his hood over his head, and wandered around the closed church.
I wasn’t worried.
But I know some mamas have to worry.
Some mamas are watching the news of these last two incidents in a sea of black lives lost, holding their babies close because this is too close to home. Teaching them how to behave to (hopefully) stay safe. Worried sick. It’s rightly so, but it isn’t right.
Something has to change. And we have to start listening. We have to believe what we hear. We have to stop excusing and explaining away. We have to stop saying racism and brutality no longer exist. We have to stop accepting pictures of white rapists in button-downs, sharing their athletic achievements, in stark contrast pictures of black victims, cast in what is intended to be an unflattering light, sharing their records. We have to stop holding tightly to the missteps of these victims because they help us feel that it’s okay to turn away.
It is never going to be okay to turn away.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know that I’m supposed to. I think right now I am supposed to just….acknowledge that this is real and happening and has BEEN happening. I think I’m supposed to speak it when I see it. I think I’m supposed to listen. When the opportunity comes to make something different, if I’ve been listening, I will have a better idea of what to do.
I’m here. I’m praying. I’m heartbroken. I’m listening.