What is a 27 year old Black father supposed to tell his 4 year old Black son… As the pain, struggle, & fight struck across the nation in every city in America on the night of July 13, 2013, as the George Zimmerman jury verdict came in to the murder of Trayvon Martin, I truly knew what it meant to be Black and was ready to take my place rightfully so. W.E.B. Dubois once spoke of the “double consciousnesses”, never being able to identify with what it means being Black in America. As I stood in a circle outside of Chicago during our inaugural Black Youth Project #BYP100, i felt the life of many Trayvon’s in my Milwaukee community #DariusSimmons #DerekWilliams, #CoreyStingley etc. and it made me think of my son. So what would I tell my son that would make white america not look at my Black son’s life as 3/5th of human… To speak proper English? Watch what you wear? To hang around “White America’s” elite? To not speak of your Blackness? To ignore the fact you have deep roots in every part of the world? Should I deprive him dignity? Make him feel lower than a dog or horse? Should I just throw chains on him now and save “White America” the trouble… Does a place in America exist where a child life can be of value, beyond them being criminalized for being Black?
I write this letter to you today on July 19, 2013 in only hope for you to be greater than I Am. Before I had you, I knew of your great Blackness in the world. I prayed that you would be one of God’s purpose and belief in being of righteousness. There’s a lot in this world you must learn and understand becoming a Black man, but the most important lesson of them all, is your greatness is defined by you and what you choose to give the world. “From Kings, to Thugs, To President”, a Black man Muhibb Dyer once wrote, in a story of our journey… Once we understand where we stand a Black men, we are better equip for fulfilling our roles. So as for this 27 year old Black father, I tell my son to be his whole Black self.