Last night I cried myself to sleep. I think the last time I cried was when my Grandmother died a couple years ago. It's been years since I've cried.
Yesterday I stayed away from Facebook and social media in general because I didn't want to see the video. I didn't want an image of someone being killed in my mental space. Then I had a moment of weakness and I logged onto Facebook...
I came across the live video from Lavish Reynolds.
She was a passenger in the car with her four year old daughter when her boyfriend was shot after being pulled over for a broken tail light.
Can you even imagine?
The truth is that could have been my family.
My heart aches for that baby girl. She had to witness something that most adults haven't seen in real life. She was in a safe place. In the car with her mother. The police approached her car and shot her mother's boyfriend.
What kind of impression do you think that will have on that little girl for the rest of her life? My guess is that she'll look at law enforcement much different from now on.
The truth is that is already a reality for many black families.
While we were living in Texas my husband worked third shift at a hospital on the other side of town. He worked every other weekend and I always dreaded the weekends that he worked. His 45 minute drive seemed like forever.
I would make him call me as soon as he made it to the hospital. I was so afraid that something may happen to him.
You see, my husband was pulled over multiple times while we lived in Texas. He was given a warning each time, thanks goodness. Once he was pulled over for "operating an electronic device (his radio) while driving". I will never forget reading that on the ticket when he showed it to me.
I remember being angry and wanting to file a complaint. What would that have done? My guess is not much.
The truth is not everyone will see my husband or my family for what we truly are. A loving family.
The truth is that some people will judge us based on what we look like.
The fear that comes along with being a black mother and wife is something that is hard to put into words. I actually worry about my husband and my brothers on a level that can't be healthy.
The truth is that the world won't see them for who they are.
As mothers I feel that we have the ability to make a change. No matter what your race is, talk to your husbands and your children about acceptance and love.
Talk to them about living in someone else's shoes. How would you feel if someone shot your husband while he was shopping in Walmart? Or killed your son because he "looked suspicious"? What if your husband didn't make it through a routine traffic stop? How would you respond to knowing that your son or husband wasn't questioned appropriately or given the benefit of the doubt?
Now how would you feel if you felt like this was happening in your community to people everyday and society's level of concern didn't really measure up?
These men and boys are more than hashtags. Sandra Bland was someone's daughter. Trayvon Martin was a teenager. If these killings haven't moved you I challenge you to look at your child's face and imagine what it would be like to see their names as a hashtag.
Imagine what it would be like for them to be riding in the backseat of the car and witness a murder.
The truth is that if you imagine yourself as the wife, sister, mother or relative of one of these victims you'll find some compassion and fear there.
No one wants it to be them. And some are glad that it's not them.
This post is for anyone who has chosen to look the other way. Moms of color need compassion and understanding for their fear. Please don't look the other way. Talk to your families the way we talk to our's. It may seem like overkill to you but it's literally killing us.
I teach my children to love and respect all people and I also teach them how to navigate the world as a black person.
The truth is that I wish I didn't have to do that but I do and that makes me sad. It makes me cry myself to sleep sometimes. It makes me worried about them as they grow. Their growth will always be bittersweet.
I know I don't normally talk about controversial issues here but I had to check myself today because maybe my silence on a platform like this is part of the problem too.
If I can sell you guys diapers and strollers then I actually owe it to you to make sure you get an idea of what life is like for me sometimes as a black Mom. Everyday isn't filled with fear and grief but the days that are hurt so bad.
If you've never really understood the black lives matter movement hopefully this post will give you a new perspective. Give grace and understanding and imagine what it must be like to live in someone else's truth.