Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I am not Trayvon Martin's Mom
So I will not tell people I know how she feels, what she thinks or what her next statement may sound like. I am not a young man of African-American descent nor am I George Zimmerman. I do not own a firearm and I try to admit to and deal with any prejudices I may have. I do not trust anyone who says they have no prejudices because we all have them just in different amounts about something. For me I know they center in my issues with religions and exclusivity of organizations that stem from that doctrine with your deity of choice. I am no better than the hateful things they say if I start to hate them.
I have children who are a product of multiple ethnicity, some of which in years past did not tolerate each other to the point that they killed one another just because they could. They are amazing for the mix they have and for the people they are in their own right. I am sad for her because as a human being regardless if her child was a good kid, a bad kid, or somewhere in between he was her son first. A son who listened, a son who sometimes did things she may have told him not to, a son who thought she knew it all, a son who as a teenager may have thought she knew nothing. Those things we do have in common and I grieve for her loss because no pain could be greater than that of losing a child. I think of George Zimmerman's mother - because she too must feel a loss, one that happened before that night, one that I would not want to live with. Regardless of the why, her son took a life. I am a person just like these mothers and this tragedy has left us all battered in different ways. I struggle every day as a mother to teach my kids how to make good choices.
So here I am - not anyone's mother except for my sons'. I do not know quite how to explain this to them but explain it I must. I have a responsibility to them to have them understand that you judge people by their actions and not whatever else we see first but know nothing more about from that first glance. Our children are the future and no matter how hard this case has been we are strides ahead of the past and they and their generation need to be that much further.
It is easy to say the words to them - you know the politically correct words - but more important to live them. The world needs our children to not be afraid of one another because we are all much better than that and those few, those who wish us ill exist everywhere and we should make them afraid of the strength that we have when we see each other for the things we have in common and the beauty of what makes us different.
I am struggling because my words will not help Travyon's mother, nor will it take George Zimmerman back to a place where he did not purchase a gun and stayed put when the police told him to. None of us can change that and that is frustrating and sad.
We have changed as a country and we need to continue to change as a country, as a world. There is so much death and anger in the world and we so could use the time instead to just live. We all want our children to live, to have what they need, to be happy - more than anything those of us who love our children want them to be happy and enjoy the world. In the end that is all this is about. We all have the right to walk, talk, laugh, love, dance, shout, disagree and live with one another. Those who incite people otherwise are just afraid that if we stopped and did just that well maybe we would notice that they are the ones we should fear, dismiss, they would lose their power.
We need an honest discourse on how poverty, education, women's rights all add up to the situation where we hate those not only who have more than us but those who have as little or less. Trayvon deserved to live simply because he was Mrs. Martin's son, a son I can only imagine she hoped would have just that bit more than she had, a son who did not have to be president to be important but a co-worker who was respected, or maybe the president it does not matter he deserved the chance.
So here we are, a nation in many ways scarred by this, scared by this and bit stuck on how to say what do we do to move forward? As a mother I believe I owe it to the two mothers in this case to raise my children to treat people exactly as they want to be treated, to know when to walk away and to know when to stand up for what is right without using more than their voices. Violence has no color but we all bleed the same red from it.
May we all hug our children a little extra tonight, shower them with the love and experience we owe them to go forward toward a world where they all have the same opportunities and a world that allows them all to take those. Racism has a place in our history books let's not continue to have it have a place in our current events.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation....Martin Luther King Jr.