Nick Sandman made world news when he made the decision to stand toe to toe in the face of Native American Elder, Nathan Phillips. For most of the world, this was seen as an act of disrespect and plenty are making the argument that his behavior is rooted in prejudice, racism and hatred. Some are asking for understanding and reminding us that he is just a silly kid who made a mistake and we should “understand”.
I believe there are some cases to be made at all of those pit stops, but this post is about something else. As the mother of an extraordinary black boy, I want the world to know that my son, our sons are kids too. We know that justice in this country is not fair. We know there is a School to Prison Pipeline. It has been documented. It is being “addressed”, yet we are still seeing our boys treated as adults upon sight and treated with inhumane hostility within the justice system. According to the NAACP’s fact sheet,
- Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested,
- 42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court.
I am making a special appeal to black women who are mothers of sons. We have the power and the voices to change the narrative of how the world sees our sons. Collectively, we have millions of followers, friends and allies on social media. Right now, today and everyday we can show the world that our boys are indeed boys.
They are smart, loving, kind, talented and valuable. We need them. They need us.
Our boys deserve to live. They deserve to grow. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. They deserve to be seen as minors, KIDS until they are fully formed adults (not boys who look like adults). They have extraordinary essence to come into. They have amazing things to do. So this space right here is for introductions.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my son. This is Evan Fitzgerald.
He turned 17 today. He is 6’3” tall , 275 pounds and a musician. He put down his football and basketball when he decided to pursue his music passionately. He attends one of the best performing arts schools in the country. He brought in his 17th birthday with two friends who slept over. They ate, laughed, made music and played video games. Today, we are having a bowling party. No liquor. No weed. No drugs. Just cake, ice cream and hot wings.
I love my son. Get to know him. He is pretty amazing.
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