By Andrea Price @a_price1
Florida has quickly become the battleground state for the plight of Black men and boys in America. The murders of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis brought attention to this plight and the injustices in the criminal justice system. In both cases, young Black men were seen as threats and not as human beings. In both cases, these young men were hunted based on the perception of danger. In both cases, invisible guns were pointed at the true murderers. In both cases, “Strange Fruit” was left for the world to see. The failure to convict the murderers of these young men left me disgusted, heartbroken and fearful for the value society places on the life of my son and other Black males. It’s painful! How are the murderers of two innocent, young men not convicted of murder? Why does the perception of danger justify murder? Why are a hoodie and music threats? Why does ubuntu not apply to Black men and boys? So, what do I tell my 6-year-old, very precocious Black son who was born in Florida?
Well I tell him:
1. Don’t live in fear! Fear can be crippling. The murderers of Trayvon and Jordan were so fearful of those young men that they didn’t know how to act in the presence of these young men. Their fear of Black boys and men was enough to cause them to confront and kill them. Yes, there are evil and mean people in the world, but to live a life fearful of other people makes us weak. My faith teaches me that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but one of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Be brave! Be bold! Be powerful!
2. Love never fails! Yes, there are hateful people in the world. Yes, there are people who will hate you because of how intelligent you are, how handsome you are and how Black you are, but always show love in the face of hate. The greatest humanitarians don’t operate from a place of hate, but rather love, a love for humanity that’s so strong that they dedicate their lives to making the lives of others better. From Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bayard Rustin to Margaret Chan to Aung San Suu Kyi, they share a common trait of deep love for others.
3. Your life matters. Trayvon’s and Jordan’s lives mattered and so does yours. The rich and the poor matter. The hungry and the full matter. The imprisoned and the free matter. We all matter. You matter because you are here. You matter because your presence is not an accident. You matter because you are my son!
4. The world is depending on you, so do right. In our big, globalized world, your positive contributions have the potential to impact the world. Try to do a good deed daily because you never know how your actions will strengthen humanity and ultimately the world.
- Be aware! Be aware of the complex history that helped shape our present and work toward ways to make a better future for your community and world. Be aware of how to operate in different social structures and systems in which you are a part. (I don’t think that’s too much to tell my 6 year old!)
What do you tell your child(ren) or other youth?