I. Cant. Breathe.
These words still haunt me every night as I lay my son down to sleep. I am a woman, a mother, a black mother scared that one day her 2-year-old black son will not make it home. With all the recent publicized killings of African American Males from the police, how can I not worry about the fate of my son one day in his near future. I don’t want my son to become another hashtag. I do not want him to be the next face of #BlackLivesMatter. Black Lives do matter right? Just as much as any other life? Please understand, when I say Black Lives Matter, I do not mean that other lives, do not matter, but how can #AllLivesMatter when the value of Black Life is still seen as lesser than others. There needs to be change, systematic change, cultural change, mindset change. Change must occur for us to advance against the hatred the overruns our system threatens the fabrics of our wonderful nation.
I was taking pictures of my son as I do frequently, but that night when I was reviewing pictures to edit, I came across a picture that stopped my heart. When I looked at this picture I saw #SayHisName #GaronBennett. In this one moment, I realized that my son could be the next Trayvon Martin. As he laid there in this shirt that read “Stand Against Racism”, I questioned everything I knew. Is it normal for a parent to often be scared for the safety of their child? Yes. Is it normal for a parent to be scared for the safety of their child from the person who took an oath to protect them? No. With all the pain and fear running though me, and the uncertainty of making it to tomorrow, I sat, and I wrote a letter to my black son, hoping my words would give him some peace in the future.
To my black son,
My child, do you know that I cry for you every night? Do you know that I hold you tight, never wanting to let you go for fear that this mean world may kill you on sight? Little Black Boy, do you know that I hurt for you? I wish I could keep you locked away so that you never have to feel the pain of being judged because you fit the description of someone who looks like you! Young King, do you know that I live for you? I live in hopes that you won’t live in constant fear and can enjoy the gifts life has you. Baby Boy, do you know that I would die for you? Without ever giving it a second thought, I would take that bullet for you, for you deserve the chance to be free and see another midnight and sunrise.
My child, do you know that I love everything about you? I love that your melanin is strong, that your hair is thick and curly, I love the fullness of your features and I love the richness of your soul. Little Black boy, do you know that you represent the best thing that ever happened to me. Do you know that when I see your smile, my heart overflows with joy? Young King, do you know you are magic? Do you realize that you can speak things into existence with 1 breath of courage and 1 flick of your tongue? Do you realize your presence demands respect? Walk in that power young heir never hold your head down in defeat! Do you know that my love for you reaches to the heavens above? No matter where you go, you are loved, you are wanted, even when it seems like the world is against you. Little Black Boy, please no not everyone is against you; do not hate America, America doesn’t know any better.
America doesn’t know that you have the skill and knowledge to lead the future. They don’t know that your God given glory is more than they can understand. America doesn’t know that you are born of the soil that they walk on, that you fill in the gaps that the world needs. America doesn’t know that you’re beautiful baby, and that your beauty goes beyond the mask that you wear. America doesn’t know that you’re unity; That hand and hand, you can unite the countries, you can diffuse the wars, and complete the emptiness that hate has left us feeling. America doesn’t know that you’re strong; Or maybe they know it and fear that strength will over power the reins that they have held against you. America doesn’t value your genius; it doesn’t understand that the creations of your mind laid the foundation for this “wonderful country” we live in. America doesn’t know your value young king, they don’t know that you were born Royal, that you a born an heir of the King. America, oh America, Don’t fear America little black boy;
Little boy, do not characterize everybody, do not fall trap to the crime that they’re committing. There is more good than evil out there, keep your eyes open, use discernment, you will see it. Son, do not run from a badge; even if you’re intimidated, stand tall, stand still, stay alive. Do not reach for anything in your pockets, if they want it, let them get it, stay alive! My baby, do not argue with authority, even if you think you’re right, stay alive! Lastly, sometimes it’s not fair and we can’t help it, but I beg you with all your might, stay alive!
Little Boy, you are more than a hashtag, you are more than a description on a radio. You are more than a color; you are more than you will ever know. You are more than a suspect, you are more than a victim and a witness. You are more than a drug dealer, than a thief, than a gang banger, than a statistic. Young Man you are more than the last man, you step higher, you run faster, you move mountains. Young King, you are more than a history, you are truth, you are light, you’re a mystery.
Little boy, do you know that mommy loves you. That it breaks my heart to say all these words to you. But know that it is just to uplift you, to help you see the world that you must live through. Little boy before I ever saw you, there was #sayhisname #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter too. Each night, I pray son, that this is not the world that you have to live though. I pray for a better future for you, for hope, for light, for equality. I pray that you have the chance to be all that you can be. My child, I hope these words help comfort you, that when nights get long you can hear my voice speaking to you.
Black boy, don’t you ever forget it, that when everything looks bad you can make it. You’re a child of King son, everything you’ll ever need is already in you, just take it.
Guest post written and photos by Asia Brianna