I’ve been struggling to find the words that need to be said. So many of my friends have made eloquent, touching posts online about George Floyd’s murder and our unacceptable racist system that continues to condemn men and women of color to execution. And as a white woman, I know it is my duty to not only speak out but to use my privileged position to do everything in my power to end it all. It feels so heavy and yet, I’m not really carrying a burden at all. My child is white. When she ages, I will not have to worry about cops or entitled white people with guns mistaking her for a “scary” or “dangerous” person upon first glance. I will worry for her health and safety but the idea of her getting killed simply because she reaches in her purse for her license or she goes for a jog in a neighbor where a robbery has been reported, are fears that will never cross my worried mind. But they are the fears of black mothers in this country.
Each time one of these egregious events occur (which is far too often) I always think of the mother. The mother that carried that child and felt it kick from within. The mother who anxiously awaited the birth of that child and bled and toiled to hear its first precious cry. The mother who peaked into a crib at 3 in the morning, exhausted but smiling. I think about what joy she felt when that child took first steps or said her name aloud. I think about all the times she was overwhelmed and yet, pushed her own needs aside for the benefit of that growing child and how she never thought twice about doing so.
And then yesterday, I thought about how George Floyd, in his last unbearable moments in this world, cried for his mother.
There aren’t easy answers and there will be no quick fixes. It pains me to say that but it is true. More black mothers, who are, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, currently worrying about the child they love beyond measure, will get the worst phone call of their life. More black lives will be taken over nothing more than a white person’s perception of their own superiority. More self-identifying liberals will threaten the lives of people of color over nothing more than their outrage of being addressed by them. More people will write more articles about all the things that white people can do to combat this ongoing and systematic evil.
And yet, our nation’s leaders will spend more time raging against social media for fact checking them than they ever will spend thinking about George Floyd’s mother.
Please think about her today. Put your phone and your computer aside and just think about her. Think about the mothers of all those precious lives that have been unjustly stolen. And then, think about your own mother or maybe your own child. Regardless of your political affiliations, please try to see yourself or your own mom in their place. Don’t do the easy thing and push it away as someone else’s life or problem. Get on your knees and envision yourself or your mother dropping to knees as a casket is lowered into soil. Feel it. Make yourself feel it. Weep. Yell. Be stunned into silence.
And then, get up. Because we all have a hell of a lot of work to do.