I Stand United with MOBB

A moment of truth…It was Trayvon Martin’s death that made me scared for my son’s life. I was sitting there watching the news and seeing his mother’s face filled with so much pain and anguish that something broke in me that day. How could someone gun down a child? It wasn’t the first time it happened, but this was a local member of the neighborhood watch.  It left me wondering how had this country changed. What could I do to protect my son?

In reality, it was nothing. I mean the country had elected the first black president in 2008 and we were worse off than I could ever imagine. Racism, hate and anger seemed to be spewing at him. But, I had a black son. I had a son that would grow up knowing that he was born in the year where America made a decision to elect a black man to the highest position in the country. Anything was possible. I believed my son could do anything and be anything at that point.

But, the country seemed to change. The color of his skin made the closet hate mongers realize that we as a people couldn’t be kept down. We could do or be anything. He endured. He endured people trash talking him, his wife and his children. However, something changed when Trayvon died. When he announced in that press conference that Trayvon could have been his son, I realized that he was acknowledging his blackness in a way that was never done. He was a father before he was a president. He was a man.

It was in that moment that I accepted that my son would always have a target on his back. I held him tighter. Many more deaths. Many more boys and men. Tamir Rice was only a few years older than Munch. I couldn’t understand. Philandro Castille and the country was in an uproar. It was a long hot summer. I was angry and wanted to do something. I am a mother to a black son. I had to save him. I proclaimed that I didn’t endure multiple attempts at pregnancy, bed rest and an emergency delivery to let him die on the streets like a dog. I had to stand for something. I had to do something.

View More: http://magnoliastreetphoto.pass.us/tikeetha_2016

But, what? Last year, CNN reported that black men are nearly 3 times as likely to die from police use of force than white men. I was scared. How could I keep my son safe? How could I help him to understand why I don’t let him play with toy guns. Why I advocated for clothing that showed him as an innocent non-threatening black boy.

It was at that time that someone added me to a group on FaceBook called Mothers of Black Boys United (MOBB). This group was amazing. I saw articles on advocacy. I saw support and concern from mothers all over the world. I saw women united for the sole purpose of making sure their black sons had an opportunity to grow up.

So, I joined. Not just the FaceBook group, but the organization. I wanted to make a change. Not just talk about it, but be about it. MOBB advocates to change how young black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. I was now part of a mission to protect our black boys. It was bigger than me. It was a community of mothers committed to make a difference.

24203749_10214468397246421_1401614609_n

Yesterday was #givingTuesday all over. Many of you gave back with your charitable donations. It’s still time. Still time to give and help raise funds for a worthy cause. Can you please join me by donating to MOBB? Just click this link: Donate to MOBB

24257406_10214468396686407_1234962785_n

Your support is invaluable. As little as $1.00 can make a difference. Thank you for supporting.

24232211_10214466424917114_3215769938874092683_n

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

Advertisements

Standing in Judgement

Last week I was reading this post over at Clutch Magazine about Charlize Theron dressing her son up in a blonde wig and hat. I clicked on the picture and looked closely and realized that he was in fact dressed up as Elsa from the movie, Frozen. Not just a random blonde wig. He had on the dress and shoes and black folks were all up in arms.

Why? Charlize Theron is the mother to a five year old son. Yes, he’s black. Yes she adopted him, but she’s still his mother. Now that we have that settled let’s get something straight…parents can do whatever the hell they wish when raising their children. As long as it doesn’t hurt them in any form or fashion.

I’ve written about this before. It is a parent’s right to raise our children however we choose. Ultimately we all want the same thing… to raise happy and healthy children that become productive citizens and not mass murders. That being said, Charlize is no different. The problem with the comments in this post were noticeable. People were making it into a race issue. It wasn’t. It was a parenting choice.

They were attacking how she chose to parent her son and trying to paint it is a racial issue saying she is prohibiting him from knowing how much of a strong black boy he is by allowing him to dress as Elsa. What? I in no way thought that he was going to be damaged by dressing as Elsa. I felt it was her parenting choice. However, I felt the commentators were disguising their disgust and trying to mask it in race when it is in fact a homophobic issue for them.

They were mad that she allowed her son to dress up as a girl. If it was from Disney’s Princess and the Frog and it was Princess Tiana (a black princess) would that have made it better? Nope. It wouldn’t. But, it wasn’t a race issue and I felt compelled to say that it was a parenting choice. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment? Nope, because I know what it’s like to parent.

 

The conversation took an ugly turn when I tried to defend her. Why? I’m defending her right to parent and to parent a black boy in the best way possible. Who are we to judge? That made me the apparent target of being judged.

snip1

snip2

Now, I stopped responding to the foolishness of others, but the woman Sys Author had some pretty respectful comments so I continued to engage. I don’t engage with idiots, but she was polite and respectful and we could agree to disagree.

snip3

snip4

While I appreciated the interaction of intellectual conversation, I just find that the whole thing has grown out of proportion. Rich people have a different set of issues that an average middle class or poor person may not understand. Each level of the tax bracket could probably say the same… You don’t know what it’s like to walk in my shoes. Do we?

I don’t think so. I am thankful for my varied experiences. I grew up poor. I would be described as middle class (working poor in my opinion) but I may never obtain millionaire status without hitting the lottery. I’m okay with it, but unless things take a turn for the worse, my son will never know what it’s like to be poor.

Thankfully.

But, I say all this to say that parenting in general is hard. Parenting black boys is hard. Parenting black girls brings another set of issues too. Parenting black children in today’s society where you have to wonder whether or not sending your children to school will allow them to come home safely or whether walking them down the street will get you killed by a stray bullet is a hard reality for many black Americans. But, we can’t allow bitterness to make us judgmental and make everything about race.

In this case it was a parent’s decision to allow her child to dress up like Elsa. You don’t agree? Fine. It’s not up to you to agree with it or not. However, it doesn’t make her a bad parent or someone who lacks racial sensitivity.

We can’t judge a parenting choice and disguise it as a racial issue. There are enough racial inequalities that are real. Those are the battles that are worth fighting. I respect her decision to allow her son to do what he wants. To wear what he wants. To allow him to freely express himself.

We just have to stop judging each other. We have to stand united and understand that we all make mistakes, but respect our differences. We all want the same thing for our children and we all want a better country. I  believe that someday we’ll get there.

No More

No more please. No more killing of our black babies and offering up excuses. I’m tired. As a mother to a black boy, this is my deepest fear. A fear that he will not be here on this Earth all the days of my life because of senseless violence. I mean Michael Brown and Ferguson is still fresh in my mind and now we hear about Tamir Rice? How could this happen?

A boy. A baby. Not even a teenager. A child. He is six years older than my son. He is a black boy. He is someone’s son. He is not going to go on his first date. He will not go to his prom. He will not graduate high school. He will not go to college. He will not get married. He will not be a father. He is dead.

How does this happen? Why are our children being used as target practice. No more. I can’t take it. I have a son. I don’t let him play with guns. I don’t let him play video games. I don’t allow him to play alone any where. I organize play dates and I organize outings. Why? Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that he will be used as target practice and there is nothing no one will be able to tell me.

I’m crying. Literally writing this piece with tears rolling down my face. I’m scared. Scared of looking into the eyes of my son and knowing that because he is a black boy that no matter what I do to prepare him to not be viewed as a threat, he may be killed senselessly by law enforcement. This is heartbreaking to me.

To make matters worse, how the heck can someone like former Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani even justify cops killing blacks by saying that “White police officers wouldn’t be in black neighborhoods, killing black men, if you weren’t killing each other.” Are you kidding me? Why would you even say that? To say that our tax dollars don’t buy us the right to have officers serve and protect without killing us or using the stop-and-frisk method because of the color of our skin is of true offense.

Understand this…I mourn all deaths due to senseless violence. But let’s get real, if my son was murdered by someone who is not a law enforcement official we would hopefully see some sort of justice. If it is law enforcement that murders him then the odds that something will happen are slim to none. He will still be dead and his murderer will be free.

My plea is simple:  Please stop killing our children. Please stop murdering my brothers, fathers, cousins and uncles. Please stop protecting those that kill the innocent. Please prosecute those who kill our children. I will go home and be able to kiss my munch, listen to him tell me about his day at school, listen to him tell me how he can’t wait to go to his grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and listen to him tell me that he loves me tonight. I will get to put him asleep, kissing his forehead and sending prayers of thanks to God for another day with him. Tamir’s parents do not have that luxury. They will have to plan a funeral.

Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice

 

Chaos & Comfort for Ferguson

I awoke to find chaos had occurred in a small town called Ferguson, Missouri where a policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. He was 18. Still in his teens. Not able to buy alcohol, but still legal. As tears streamed down my face and I ached for the young man I never met, I said a prayer for peace. Peace in that town. Peace in the family. Peace in the police department. Peace for humanity.

I can’t imagine what that family is going through at this moment. I am saddened to think “what if”. What if it had been my son? What if it had been someone I know? My church school students? My friend’s son? What words of comfort could I offer to help them through this difficult time? What words of comfort could I offer to other parents who raise black boys? I stumbled over the words to write that could offer a semblance of hope in a difficult time. Another young man was murdered and we are left to wonder why? Was he armed? No. It was this picture that broke my heart.

RIP Michael Brown
RIP Michael Brown

I believe in an officer’s right to protect and serve. I believe that in order to do their jobs sometimes they have to make difficult judgement calls in life threatening situations. I believe in safety. But, I also believe that there are bad people out there that want to wage a war against our youth. I believe that bad people work in all fields hidden in society where we are left wondering their true intentions. They wear a mask of anonymity and we always question it when situations like this occur. What is their real motive?

We will never know. Because it seems as though it is open season on our young black men. I am scared. I am scared for my son. I am scared for my beautiful black boys in my church school class. I am scared for the many nameless young men out here who will never grow up and be able to legally buy alcohol, graduate from college, vote or get married. Your life has ended and there is no excuse, but I will pray for peace for you, your family and your community. Violence begets violence and no one should ever think “Kill the Police” is a good idea.

Be patient my loves and know that we have a justice system. Although flawed in some areas, I know that God will have the final say in all that we do. Prayer is essential in this time and I want you to know that I found some words to comfort you in the chaos:

Revelation 21:4 (KJV):
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.