Last night I did not sleep well. I had a case of what I like to call “Black Mom-nia”, that condition where you see a Black mama grieving because her child has been snatched from her, and you know that it could have been you and your child had one variable been changed — a different city, a different time of day, a few years younger or older. And you can’t sleep, because, now that you know, you are duty-bound to act. To do SOMETHING. And you are restless in your spirit.
Yesterday, in Ferguson, Missouri, people took to the streets in anger. A child had been shot and killed by a police officer, his body left in the street for four hours. And it’s important that we know that his name was Michael Brown, and that he was unarmed, and that he was to start college in two days. But it is also important that we know that it would have mattered anyway. If he was not college bound. If he was not a teenager. He would have mattered anyway.
So last night, after peaceful protests and vigils were met by the police with riot gear and dogs and tanks, the people of Ferguson met their vitriol with vitriol. They broke some windows, and they burned some things, and some folks took some stuff. This morning, those images were blasted on tv screens across the country, with only a passing mention of the young brotha, Mike Brown.
But we know what it is. We know that, let them tell it, hair weaves and $5 t-shirts are more important than the lives of our children. And that, let them have it, we’ll have another sleepless night tonight, stressed from the realities of the traumas that lie ahead of our children. We know that they do not value our lives.
But we do.
And so, the burnin’ and the lootin’ has begun. And it won’t stop until our children can walk to grandma’s house without being afraid of the big bad wolves with badges.