I had my hoodie on all day last Wednesday for Million Hoodies March awareness… I even had the hood on my head as I ran from the lightrail station to my school four blocks away. I had sunglasses on, a silver phone in my hand, and pumas on my feet. I ran past several people in Lonetree (a Denver Suburb) who heard my footsteps moving quickly towards them. They turned to see me, but once they saw my white hispanic face, they went back to their business of walking along the sidewalk, unafraid. Again….. I was in Lonetree, with a hood on my head, silver object in my hand, running towards people, and they were unafraid. Is that the same reaction my son received while walking our dogs with my husband two nights ago? Take a guess.. My son is black. My husband is black. And though my husband is a police officer, and we live in the same home he grew up in for the last 21 years, and my son is an honor roll student on Drill Team, ROTC, honors math and English, he had a hood on.
Much like Sanford, FL, the neighborhood we live in has an armed neighborhood security force.. and they have received calls about my husband and son walking in our own neighborhood.
I wore my hoodie in solidarity. I educated my children, again, about not treating other people differently based on race, about not lashing out and being angry with white people for the injustice they see as children of color. I took photos and posted them on Facebook and Twitter, I posted links. I talked about this issue passionately in my all white social media class, but somehow it all just does not seem enough, because I still have to warn my 16 year old son about wearing dark clothes in our neighborhood at night. I have to have “The Talk” with him that all mothers of black sons have to have.
So I march to our Capital in Denver with a throng of mostly black fellow activists and mothers so that my son and daughters won’t have to have “The Talk” with their children one day. We have come so far from the days of the Civil Rights Movement, but not far enough. The subtle everyday racism that pervades our society doesn’t take the form of lynching, and overt name calling with signs on the doors of businesses excluding my son because of his color. The racism that exists now is far more sneaky and it’s easy for white privilege to be ignored or denied, especially by white people. It’s still there, though. It forces black men to be Super Men just to earn the title of “Man”. It forces Black boys to second guess their wardrobe choices, not just for gang related colors, but for “thug related” fashion. This is something white America does not have to second guess. I don’t have to second guess. Injustice will still exist after my march today. Racism will still exist 100 years from now. But, it won’t exist because of my silence. It won’t exist to the same extent it does now if white America ends its silence and ceases to turn a blind eye or make excuses. This is why I march. My children and your children are Trayvon.