To no one's surprise, he was tearing up. His mom called me in his room. "I know what you are feeling right now...It is okay to cry and take as much time as you need." I said. "Would you like some more time alone?" I asked. "I am okay dad, just very upset. Why did they do that to him dad?" He asked. I did not have any answers in the moment, so I chose to give him his moment and time. "Even the other officer! He just stood there and did nothing! Even when those people were screaming that they were killing him!" He said while shaking his head. I look behind me and I could see our youngest standing by the door, looking lost at what was happening. He walked toward his brother and said "can I kiss you?" At this point, I could no longer contain myself. I held all our boys closer and told them how much I loved them while holding back as much tears as I could, because I wanted to be strong for them. I guess that is parenting while Black.
The following morning, as I prepared to do my usual neighborhood jog, everyone was having breakfast and getting ready for mom's lessons. So, I did my usual daddy loves you guys thing. To everyone's surprise, our youngest approached me and said "daddy can I kiss you?" It sounded innocent in the moment and so I smiled while doing every parent's "I love you to buddy, and of course you can kiss me!" Then he followed the kiss with "Be careful dad! I don't want you to die!" right then and there I knew my kids had been scared--the scars of racism and witnessing those who look like them, who like their father and mother murdered time after time, even when the cameras are on. Even impactful was what my wife said in that very moment. "Do you have to go today?" Always the strongest, she too was hurting, she was worried. "I will be alright" I replied. And as I walked toward the door, I heard our oldest say, "Be careful dad!"
The rest of my jogging time became less about enjoying nature and the beauty of my neighborhood, and more about the impact of these continued broad day murders of Black and Brown young folks on our health and well-being. My family had been scared for life and those images had been engraved in their psyche, a nightmare for any parent. I knew we will continue to live the rest of our lives no longer just talking about the dark history of this country as a past, but as a continuing present, which we were already doing. The difference this time was that the youngest had been exposed.
We are privileged to be who we are and where we are in life. Privilege enough for our kids to attend some of the best schools around, privileged to have a good job, privileged to have attained the "highest level" of education, privileged to have all the basis of life, but even with all the privileges that come with attaining a certain level in life, there is no and never will there be escaping the fact that WE ARE STILL Black in America, and we carry with us every single negative assumption associated with Blackness in this country. But at least we have access to so many resources. How about those who do not have access? Where and how can we use the privileges afforded to us by undeserved grace to make a difference? Thus was born the Black Healing Fund. Our goal is to use our access, the privileges and opportunities afforded to us, to help contribute in the fight to heal our community from the trauma of racism and anti-blackness.