By A Comeaux
Yesterday was surreal on many levels.
After Black Americans celebrated Independence Day—freedom—we were reminded that we are NOT, collectively nor individually, free at all.
In Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was shot dead, point-blank range. Sterling’s hands were empty as he bled to death.
But that’s not the part that broke me down. Much like you, I’ve seen this malicious act go viral for others and my triple reactions of numbness, rage, and fear rose within my soul.
But Alton Sterling’s death was different. Again, I witnessed a mother, take a media platform and muster her strength to deliver words that she needed the land to hear.
This is the very strength that our elders had to muster as Black men were lynched in front of the town, and in front of their families; a murderous tactic that slave masters used to incite fear within us.
But this time, it was over the muffled groans of Alton Sterling’s son, mourning his father’s public execution that made me lose it.
So I walked around for the first time feeling the sympathy that fuels the ‘Baby Boy syndrome,’ where we keep our men in the house and close to our bosom to keep them alive.
So while I wanted to write to my sisters about our resilience, our poise and strength amidst turmoil, I had the Sterling family in mind when I see them, hear the family’s testimony about a murdered father and husband. Sterling’s widow simply took a deep breath and continued to talk because for the first time in her life the world was listening and she was determined with all in her being to get her point across.
I heard you, sis, I heard your seed wail for his dad and my soul sank to a new low.
I’m the mother of a 10-year-old Black male who me to videotape him at the skate park. And I muffled my tears for my own baby boy, I prayed to shield him and give him joy in that moment, despite the utter grief that I felt.
Alton Sterling should have made it home and the fact that he didn’t both numbs and enrages me. So we get through the skate park adventures and I’m alone to grieve properly, to write a letter to my sisters, an ode to our Black men and boys, and shamefully, I almost didn’t know how to start.
Then I dozed off at the foot of my Sun’s bed only to wake at 3:45 a.m. to see a white bloody tee of a Black man slumped over with his seat belt on.
This is yet another Black man dead at the hands of a fearful-for-his-life cop. Live. Recorded by yet another resilient queen in the face of her grieving child.
Of course she needed to grieve too, but we meet the needs of our men first because their lives get snatched first, and they are incarcerated en masse.
What will these mothers tell their babies? I need help because my Sun has been marching for social justice and equality since Trayvon Martin was murdered and his killer wasn’t a cop—just a trigger happy, Neighborhood Watch coward who defied police orders to stand down.
My Sun was 5-years-old when he first marched.
Today he has questions and fears and rightful apprehensions and I have no words. I cannot protect him. I must continue to raise him to fight the battle that none of us have won.
We, as a people have not overcome or undone what has been done to us.
In every arena possible, we are reminded that we are inferior. It’s never fair. Never equal. Never equitable.
This is our truth as Blacks in America and it hurts like hell.
I’m A Comeaux, A Black mother of a Black male, rooted from Louisiana, planted in Minnesota and completely numb and enraged.
But I know that the strength our ancestors used to push through still lives within us. We are ready.
We will rise.
A Comeaux is the writer, speaker and actor who poetically paints pictures of life and love with a paradoxical perspective. Follow her on Twitter @KCOSpoke
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