{ SheLoves: after the verdict }

Justin garden

This isn’t the first time I felt scared for my son. I remember when I first learned that dark-skinned men are more likely to be incarcerated. Or young men of color are more likely to be falsely accused of crimes. Or black boys are more likely to be victims of violent crime…

When I learned of the verdict sadness revisited my mama’s heart. My son might not be so safe walking in our suburban neighborhood – especially if it’s a cool winter day and he reaches for his favorite hoodie (bought by Auntie Martha on a recent expedition to the zoo). His chocolate skin, his newly dreaded hair, which so echoes his vibrant personality, and his hoody could confuse someone. His everyday behavior crossing his own city streets could look like a threat to someone else…

My son dances with a vengeance. He wants to be a rapper, a soccer star like Messi or a businessman capable of making lots of money. “When I make my first million dollars, mom, I’ll give it away to drill wells for all the thirsty people in Burundi so they’ll have access to clean water.” Because just as often, my son dreams of following in his father’s footsteps and working alongside the poor so that they can build a better future. He thinks that’s cool, too.

But someone in my own neighborhood in America could see his dark complexion, his dreads, his hoodie and feel threatened. And without any knowledge of my son, without any interaction with him – they could be frightened.

And what if they own a gun…

Read the rest over at SheLoves Magazine.


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All writing on this site represents my own journey, my own wrestling, my own epiphanies. While I work with Communities of Hope, ideas shared here do not necessarily represent this organization.