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Monday, May 1, 2017

Lonely

Link to news story here

His name was Jordan Edwards. And he was 15.

I'm running out of words to say to try to make you care. I can't seem to find the voice that will motivate you to do something. Mamas: another of our sisters lost her baby. He was shot by police. A fifteen year old child was killed by police.

Part of me wants to list all the details of his story so I can prove to you that he didn't deserve to die. But I'm not going to do that. Because a 15 year old child should not be shot and killed by police. Period. And now his is just another name in a long list of unarmed Black men, women, and children whose lives were cut short by a person in uniform who has been given the authority to be judge, jury, and executioner. Do the details even matter anymore if we are okay with our police force taking on that role?

White friends... Do you hear about unarmed Black men and children being shot by police and you aren't sure what to do? Are you stuck? Frozen? Do you care but because of segregation you just don't know enough People of Color for it to really resonate? We're so separated that these photos don't remind us of someone we love and so we're able to push away feelings and carry on.

Can I be honest? I get so discouraged. I'm a white woman but I'm also the mother of a Black boy. My heart freezes with fear each time I hear about another shooting by police. And the deafening silence in the white community around me speaks volumes.

I'm going to try hard not to make this a "white woman's tears" kind of post.

But I'm feeling pretty damn lonely this morning. And sad.

My reality is a weird no-man's land. I have white children and a Black child. But I'm white and so is my husband. I've learned and am learning what it's like to be raising a Black boy in North Carolina Home for us is a place where a KKK rally is scheduled this coming weekend, a place where I've gotten their recruitment flyers in my driveway. I know the fear that sits in the pit of my stomach when I think about him growing up, being out with friends without me, driving a car around this place where People of Color are still treated with suspicion and disrespect. I know how it feels to watch another police shooting of a Black child and see a reflection of MY child, a piece of my heart, in his picture.

So I sit and cry alone in my house because most of my white friends don't know what it's like to see a reflection of their children shot and killed by police time and time again. And I'm often afraid to burden my Black friends any more with my white woman's tears over this. Which is dumb, I know... they'd be here for me in a heartbeat if I merely said the word.

My local Black Lives Chapter leaders are teaching me that it's pointless to keep pointing out how bad things are for People of Color. They're leading me to work to help teach other white folks how white supremacy has harmed us too. They've learned the lesson long ago that white people just aren't moved to action by story after story of oppression, injustice, and mistreatment.

But me? I'm new to this. I've only been the mother of a Black child for 5 years. It's the most heart-wrenching, confusing, often lonely experience to parent this child whose smile comes wrapped up with joy and magic and whom I love so hard it hurts.


So yeah. This hurts. If you don't know what to do, reach out. Ask me. I'll get you plugged in. I know you are busy. But I bet Jordan's mom has been busy too. White friends, please don't let your silence speak for you.