This week I tried to “stay on task” as my son says, however the black wife, mother, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin and friend wouldn’t let me. We all are aware of the killings of Mr. Crutcher and Mr. Scott that took place this past week, my question is how do we demand change?
As a mother, I can raise my son and daughter to be law abiding citizens. To show respect at all times and live a life that’s productive to society. The problem is the odds for my children are such that at some point they will come in contact with law enforcement. Not because of doing anything wrong but just because of their skin color.
I can recall several times my husband who is and has always been a law abiding citizen having contact with police officers. One time he “fit the description” of a person who had just committed a crime and got put in a line-up at a gas station. Another time he got pulled over for no apparent reason. After his plates were ran and everything came back clear he was allowed to go. Another time he got pulled over because “his tints were too dark” this actually happened several times so he decided to have the tints removed. This should solve our problems right? Wrong. The last incident I can recall is when we went to a movie theatre in Williamsville and as soon as we got inside an officer came over to my husband and said he was going to need his license. My husband said “for what?” The officer said, “because, a lady said you threatened her in the parking lot and if something happens to her, you will be a suspect.” I’m boiling at this point and I said “well who is she?” He says, “I can’t point her out to you.” I then say “because she doesn’t exist and you’re just doing this because he’s black.” That opened up another whole dialogue where the officer was offended because and I quote “he has friends that are black.”
That night will forever remain with me. It didn’t matter that we were law abiding citizens who loved God and served in the church. We worked for Corporate America and committing a crime was and still is a non-existing thought in our mind. That night it didn’t matter who we were. It mattered what we were. We were black. That night makes me scared for my son and my daughter. Who will feel threatened by my children, father, uncles, nephews and cousins? Who will think my husband is a “big bad guy?” When will the time come that we are seen “not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character?” Will there ever be such a time? When will we recognize the power we have as a race when we stand united together. When will we understand that if Black Lives don’t matter to us first, it will never matter to them? When will we see the beauty of our culture, heritage, history and ancestors who endured so much for our freedom and rights? When will they see that we are only angry because “you don’t hear us?” You see us and choose to mute us thinking that nothing of value exists within us. When will we truly “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal?” When will black lives really matter?
My heart is heavy as I write this and I don’t know what to do or where to start. How can we petition change?
Tracy Collymore 9/23/2016