Trayvon, Rekia and the Fear of Having Black Babies3/26/2012
I don't know how many times I have tried to start this piece. Like everyone else, the murders of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Rekia Bo...
I don't know how many times I have tried to start this piece. Like everyone else, the murders of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Rekia Boyd in Chicago have left me feeling numb, helpless and frightened. I know that I am not yet ready to discuss the politics and insanity surrounding these two tragedies; and there is a part of me that feels as if I may never be able to do so. Instead, I want to focus on a certain sentiment and emotion that these killings have had many of us expressing -- the fear of bringing black babies into this world.
One day, I hope to get married to a beautiful, conscious black man, and with him create majestic, black babies who will grow up to be leaders and advocates of our people. Now, I find myself (as well as many other black women) second guessing the latter part of this dream. This country continues to send us the message, that the lives of black men, women and children hold no value. Trayvon went to a store for snacks, ended up being stalked, physically assaulted and murdered. While his family grieves and try to pick up the pieces of their now fragmented lives, his murderer is free to roam around and do as he pleases. Is this truly the same world that can house our dreams of the house, the dog, husband and 2 kids??
Our babies are our testaments that we leave to the future. All of our dreams, hopes and aspirations are placed on them, hoping that each generation will succeed where the previous ones failed. If our babies are being killed before they can leave their imprint and influence on this earth, than our testaments and voices are collectively being silenced. If we want our stories to survive and the dreams of our ancestors to be fulfilled, we must stop being complacent with the way things are and seek to change the environments that we inhabit.
I am not asking for everyone to be as militant as Huey P. Newton or Gabriel Prosser. What I am asking for is for all of us to be more aware of the political and social climates and to mobilize to change them to fit our needs. We need more activists, writers, mentors and teachers. We need more and more of our voices joining the collective chants demanding justice for Trayvon and Rekia and the countless others whose names we will never know. I want to fulfill my dream and bless this world with brown babies whose faces are a melting pot of all those who came before. And I want more of my sisters and brothers to do the same. But, we need to make sure that we can bring them into a world that sees them as human, and not targets for bullets.
Valerie Jean-Charles is a 23 year old community servant and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. Follow at @Empressval to join her never-ending conversations about everything and then some.