This morning, my husband left our home to run some errands, wash the car, and get his hair cut. He went alone. I was still in bed, sleeping in on a Saturday morning. As is my normal routine, I said a quick prayer for his safety while he was out and about. I imagine most wives might do the same for their husbands. Or moms might do the same for their sons, sisters for their brothers…wanting their loved ones to come back home safe and sound.
My husband is 38 years old, college educated and works an office job every day. He is a dedicated brother and son. He is gentle and kind and has a huge heart. He is really, quite simply, a really nice guy.
My husband is a black man, a tall, large black man at that, and it’s because of that I pray every time he leaves the house.
Unless you have been under a rock for the past 2 weeks or so, you can’t help but to have heard about the growing uproar about 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watch leader, while coming from the store where he was getting candy for his brother. Trayvon was holding a package of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea when he was murdered.
It seems that Trayvon’s only crime was being a black male walking alone in a gated community. If you have a black brother, son, cousin or father, this is the story of their lives.
The burden of proof falls on good men like my husband all the time. The burden to prove that they are not robbers, or rapists, or murders, or drug dealers. The police stops just because “they fit the description”. Clutched purses in stores or elevators. Being judged because they wear jerseys or their pants sag low, like all of the popular rappers that are on the radio. In a way, it seems that I’d gotten jaded to reading or hearing about black (or brown) men being harassed by the police. The men I know just knew they had to charge it to the game and govern themselves accordingly. Black mothers and fathers educate their sons about how to behave if stopped by the police: speak clearly and politely, don’t act belligerent, have slow movements.
Trayvon Martin didn’t even the courtesy of being able to prove himself, it seems. He didn’t get a chance to explain that he was coming from the store and going back to his dad’s house, who lived in that community. Some dude with a tin badge and a 9mm, decided he saw a strange ni.gg.er in a neighborhood that SURELY he didn’t belong in, shot first and asked questions later. Trayvon Martin will not get a chance to graduate high school, go to college, get married, or have kids. He will not get the chance to PROVE himself, in life.
This is why I pray for my husband, and for my brother, who is only ten years old than Trayvon and even for my 62 year old father. The wrong circumstance and the wrong person and they could easily be a Trayvon, not getting a chance to explain their very existence, having to prove yet again…
…that they have a right to be a black man minding their own damn business in the United States of America.
Please help Trayvon Martin’s family get the justice he deserves and sign the petition asking for his killer to be arrested and prosecuted.
(Editor’s note: Comments that are off topic and/or racist will be deleted. I am not even entertaining THAT.)