35 minutes in the car each morning to work.
35 minutes in the car each evening back home.
This leaves a lot of time to think. Lately in the mornings while I’m feeling the effects of my morning energy drink my mind floats around and has landed on Trayvon Martin. The image of Trayvon with his father or the image of a close up of Trayvon’s face shows up across my mind’s movie screen. I can’t wash them from my mind. Part of me wants to and another part knows I can’t forget.
If I sit on this memory too long, I picture Trayvon lying in the wet grass as blood and life pour out of him and I wonder how scared he must have felt; how alone he must have felt. The realization that his young life was evaporating must have been terrifying. If I sit on this memory too long, my sons replace him on the cold wet grass and that picture, that image is too much. If I sit on this memory too long the tears easily overflow my eyes and run down my cheeks. I force myself to think about something else; to much—too sad.
His Black life mattered.
From Trayvon my thoughts take flight and land on a street corner in New York and I hear Eric Gardner say over and over, “I can’t breathe!” I recall the time when I was 10 and fell off a skateboard and knocked the wind out of myself. I remember the fear that seized me when I realized I couldn’t inhale. I wonder if that is the same feeling Eric had. I wonder if he knew death sat on the corner next to him that day.
His Black life mattered.
From Eric my thoughts are airborne again and land on a porch in the early morning hours in Dearborn Heights Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. There I picture Ranisha McBride knocking on a stranger’s door asking for help after she had a car accident. I wonder if she heard the gun that was fired through the screen door before she was hit in the face.
Her Black life mattered.
My thoughts take flight again, from Ranisha to John Crawford, to Oscar Grant, to Michael Brown, to Jordan Davis, and land on young Tamir Rice. My thoughts sit on the shoulder of little Tamir and I watch him play in the lonely park. I imagine he envisions himself a police officer hunting bad guys as we swings his toy gun around. I see the police car pull up and before the car stops Tamir is dropped to the ground shot once. Another young boy on the cold ground as his young life pours out of him. Another young boy alone dying afraid, terrified, hurt, confused.
His young Black life mattered.
All lives matter!
That is often the retort when there is a Black Lives Matter protest, or sit in or when a Facebook profile picture is changed to show support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I wonder why the retort is necessary.
From the all Lives matter retort my thoughts drift to other causes. Tomorrow starts October; Breast Cancer Awareness month. This weekend NFL players will accent their uniforms with pink to show their support. For the next four weeks attention will be drawn to Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer awareness. People will share stories of pain and triumph centered on Breast Cancer but I won’t hear the retorts. Those that champion Autism or Alzheimer’s won’t defiantly say, OUR CAUSE MATTERS TOO! It won’t be said because being aware of one cause doesn’t mean other causes aren’t important. It won’t be said because saying something like that would be seen as insensitive; it would be seen as unnecessary. Of course your cause is important and by me saying my cause is important doesn’t mean other causes aren’t important.
In the conversation on race, when it doesn’t appear Black Lives are valued, when I express Black Lives Matter, an ally would simply respond, “Yes they do!” In these 6 words, all are heard and all are understood, no one is diminished, and no one’s cause trumps another.