You have the sweetest smile that stretches across your face. You have a deep belly laugh that makes your entire two-year-old body shake with joy. You love dinosaurs and you make a deep roaring sound when you play with them. You are so loving, giving hugs to your dad and me and kisses to your sisters.
I wish I could enjoy you getting taller and stronger. While other parents play the “So Big” game with their toddlers, I quietly mourn the fact that you are growing bigger. Because in the eyes of America’s law enforcement, you are becoming more threatening every day. I hear the statistics every day. I watch people argue that data shows how much more likely Black men are to be criminals. Therefore, police officers are justified in using deadly force with you.
Those words scare me, baby. My sweet Black Boy Joy. Your oppressors are watching you grow too. And by oppressors, I mean people who are not allies to your race. People who don’t believe your life matters. Those who justify the killing of unarmed Black men. They think you’re cute right now, but one day, you will be scary. Around the age of 12, Black boys like you are no longer seen as innocent. You are seen as potential criminals.
I’m scared for you.
I wish I could hold you in my arms and shield you from this country. This country was built on the back of your ancestors. This country has a history of violence against our Black skin. We are still fighting to be seen as equal, as important, as human. After 400 years of oppression, we still have a long way to go.
As your mom, I wept with hope with the announcement of change for the upcoming year because I know that there will now be people who value your life. Ones who will work tirelessly to change the system of oppression and help create laws that will protect your Black life. I pray that one day we will have a justice system that eliminates the need for hashtags of murdered African-American mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. I pray for a better America for you, my beautiful Black son. Is our country experiencing a rebirth? I’m smiling at the possibility of change.
With hope in my heart,
Your loving Mother