I am feeling compelled to share with you that the past week has been really rough for my family. We are not OK but we will be if we no longer stay silent.
Since I brought Max home as a baby in 2010, we have faced:
- Overt acts of violence that I never reported, like a woman spitting in my face after she asked to see my bundle of joy
- Questionable police activity when Max was stopped by a police officer for walking our dog in our neighborhood
- Not so subtle acts of racism from parents telling their kids not to play with mine on the playground or the gas station attendants not letting my son use the bathroom but letting white men in both before and after him or people walking down the street telling him to “get out of the way BOY” in a certain tone that can’t be denied
- Naive acts like an acquaintance recommending that I tell people Max is Haitian and not African American or a grocery store clerk asking personal questions about our mother-son relationship
- White privileged comments from my closest friends telling me I am paranoid or over-reacting when I try to highlight micro-aggressions or point out the glares/stares we often get in certain predominantly white situations
The “talk” is a sad state of reality and something I have always had with Max about how life isn’t fair, and that people will judge you for how you speak, act and especially how you look. He has never been allowed to have Nerf or water guns in the city because I know that will put him in harms ways just like it resulted in the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old killed in Cleveland. I certainly don’t let him run outside because people will assume he is running from a crime he committed, just like Ahmaud Arbery.
Every time I share any of the above, non-black friends and family are shocked and horrified but have a tendency to dismiss them as a one-off. Black friends acknowledge that it’s a problem, but tell me to get used to it and to tell Max to always be the best version of himself. Even black men we have never met give Max the solidarity nod. All just keep moving on.
I am DONE.
It’s time to move on – toward real action and the hard work involved in racial justice. I am done with platitudes.
Please take the time to read or listen to one of the resources we’ve made accessible on our app or donate to a cause the speaks to you or volunteer in a way that stirs the soul and continue to pray for equality, justice and peace for all.
I stand with my son and all black men.
This is what I am doing:
- I am listening to the 1619 Project Podcast
- I am donating to the NAACP and the Small Business Relief Fund set up by My Block, My Hood, My City
- I am demanding:
- a ban on knee and chokeholds as acceptable police practice
- a Use of Force Continuum that clearly defines rules of escalation
- a uniform Open Records Acts so no misconduct can be shielded
- universal implementation of Citizen Review Boards
- re-institution of Department of Justice consent decrees on police departments and local governments that have demonstrated patterns of racism towards and mistreatment of people of color.
- I am raising a beautiful, courageous, thoughtful, empathetic, funny and brilliant black man who is still defined by the color of his skin but has the hope that things will change if we all do more than listen and actually speak up and stand with black men.
As Errand Solutions we are:
- sharing resources for adults and kids, as well as advice from experts on how to talk to kids about race
- showcasing the minority owned businesses we work with every day as well as those we would love to work with
- empowering YOU to continue to take courageous action and post up to the moment accurate information that elevates the conversation
- wanting to hear from YOU on what MORE can we be doing to end racism and bigotry in all forms.
Much love and respect,