First Trayvon Martin, then Jordan Davis.
After the verdicts in each of these cases, I found myself overwhelmed by a sea of emotions that started with disbelief, rested for a while in extreme anger, and ended in horror.
As the mother of a toddler who will one day become a black boy, who will one day become a black teen, who will one day become a black man, the senseless taking of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis’s lives represent the collective fear of any parent of a black male in America.
Prior to having my child, I never longed to have a son because I did not ever want to know the pain of him being taken away from me. Not at the hands of black-on-black violence, the police, or some person who could perceive him to be the very antithesis of who I will raise him to be–a responsible, kind, compassionate, strong, proud black man.
Whether he one day chooses to be the teenager who wears a hoodie or blasts hip-hop music from a car while riding around with friends, he should not be reduced to a threat, thug, or somebody’s worst nightmare. He is much more than that. Jaxon is a treasured grandson, cousin, and Godson. He is my son. He is a human being who deserves to graduate from high school, drive his first car, walk across a college stage to receive his degree, forge a career, marry the girl of his dreams, and have a family of his own. His, nor any other black male’s, time on this earth should be cut short by the irrational fear of those who may think of him one way, but know him in no way.
Shortly after the Michael Dunn verdict, I received a text from one of my son’s Godmothers. She, like I, could not understand how there could be a mistrial on the charge of what seemingly was an open and shut case of first-degree murder. We exchanged mutual words of quasi-disbelief and regret, hung up, and returned to our lives in a world that was once again less one black boy.
Later on that evening, she texted me again. Told me that times like these remind her of her youngest nephew whom she recently lost to gun violence. Then she told me that one of her greatest prayers is that God always protect and keep Jaxon safe from all danger and anyone who may seek to harm him. A chill rushed through my body. The perpetual prayer for the young black male.
And to her text I replied, “I pray so too.”