Hands Up Don’t Shoot
(This is a picture of my children and my fight is for them)
Another black, unarmed, young black man killed. This time in his own backyard. His name is Stephon Clark. “I thought it was a toolbar” they said, “I thought it was a gun”, they said. It was neither, but he didn’t have a Hands Up Don’t Shoot moment! Twenty rounds fired into the body of this young king while his family sat in the house. After approaching his lifeless body an officer requests CPR stuff while another yells MUTE. The last two minutes of the video are silent. Why?
Another teaching session with my four black children about what to do if they’re encountered by the police. Comply comply comply, but is that truly enough? Why do I have to tell them that their black is beautiful but in the same breath that it’s also threat to those who are to protect and serve?
I have three black sons and one black daughter and I fear for their safety. As a parent, I have the typical concerns that most parents have. Choosing the right friends. Staying drug free. Respecting their bodies. Getting good grades. Protecting them from bullies, but I didn’t think that one of the bullies I’d have to protect them from would be the police.
I breathe a sigh of relief every time my children come home safe after being out with friends.
When my daughter turned 18 I didn’t know how to feel. I never imagined the day she would become “grown” and I’d have to adjust my parenting to fit the new circumstances. New curfew and more understanding. Trusting that what I’ve taught her over the last 18 years would be enough to keep her safe. Praying that she isn’t pulled over by a scared cop and never returns home.
Would the repeated lessons of what to do if you’re ever stopped or apprehended by the police be enough for my four children?
When will enough be enough? When will the color of our skin not make us targets? When will the fear of my children becoming the next Stephon Clark not be a possible reality? I’m angry and I’m sad and I don’t have all the answers but I will keep teaching, marching, and fighting until I see change.
“There is no noise as powerful as the sound of the marching feet of a determined people” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Until next time…❤️