March 22, 2012 @ 01:01 pm by Jacqui Lewis
On Wednesday night, hundreds of people — women, men, and children — took to the streets and marched from Union Square in reaction to the senseless killing of an unarmed Black teenager, Trayvon Martin. In their hoodies, with their children hoisted on their shoulders, they marched and chanted, full of lament: race clearly still matters in these United States of America. Black teenagers scare some people, therefore, walking while Black is a dangerous thing to do in some places, some times.
How dangerous is a Black boy, armed with skittles and a soft drink? How frightening is some mother's baby, some father's son, just because he is Black, wearing his jeans down low, hoodie-adorned as a fashion statement?
I walked by some Black young men last night, on the way home from the church meeting that kept me from marching. I saw them in my singular march to the subway; they were standing close together, just across from Grand Central Terminal. As I approached, my maternal instincts kicked in, along with my desire to hug and protect them from harm.
I said, “Excuse me, baby, can I get by?"
And the hooded one said, "Yes, Ma'am – sorry."
"No sorry needed,” I said, "Have a great night."
“You, too, Ma'am," He said.
Those young men were about the age my own son would be right now, if I had one. So was Trayvon.These are our children: Trayvon, those young men I passed last night, the two little girls in this photo taken by my colleague Christina, and they are in danger. We have to fix this; we have to address the ways racism in these United States is like a virus that mutates and continues to infect us. Our children are not born to hate nor are they born with fear. But adults who have the virus can harm them, and children can catch the virus, too.
It can feel overwhelming, addressing racism, but we have to do it. Come to our multiracial/multicultural community, Middle Church, on Sunday; wear your hoodie and plan to pray for healing. Hear special music written just for Trayvon, by Bil Wright and Dionne McClain-Freeney. Hear my sermon, a call to action. Sign this petition, and let's do something about how racism kills our children.
It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is going to come.
About This Blog
Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.