I had a conversation with my ten-year-old son one day and it became apparent to me that telling him he is beautiful and he matters is just as important as me telling his sister. I suggested this to his father, which he agreed, of course, because that kind of message to a boy from his father holds greater impact.

It’s imperative that assuring our black boys that they are important to us and their lives should be valued by others, as well as themselves, be done daily. It’s a significant method and should be a constant reminder as they grow into adulthood while dealing with being labeled as a threat to American society.

The streets are tough on our boys, the government doesn’t care about our boys, and the justice system is not for them.

Telling them that they matter constantly will instill a certain level of confidence in them; a certain confidence that transitions into self-worth, self-respect, and the development of a productive young man with the ability to make good decisions. Will that change the way a racist trigger-happy cop sees them? Probably not. However, I’m convinced that how a young black boy views himself is how the world will view him and that might actually save his life one day.

Dad, let your encouraging words to your son become the foundation to his personal evolution while living in a world that tells him that his life isn’t valuable. He needs to know that while growing up in a society that tells him how much of a threat he is, it’s vital for him to do what he can to prove otherwise.

When you know better about yourself, you do better to keep evolving.

 

Tell your sons that they matter.

Dads, I’d also urge you to show vulnerability when you’re with your son because it’s okay to be. It’s difficult for men to drop their hard exterior because they were conditioned to “tough it up”. Showing emotion and being vulnerable is considered a feminine act. Truth be told, if males aren’t emotional then there wouldn’t be genocide, violence against women, and sexual harassment in the workforce, but I digress. This behavior is an ongoing cycle in black families, which undoubtedly, will eventually transition into some turbulent behavior.

 

Tell your sons they matter

 

Not only for them but for yourself as their parent. It’s you that they come to for needed advice, a shoulder to lean on, and security. As their father, you are their protector…not just in a physical sense, but also in an emotional sense and mental sense. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are a carbon copy of you. They soak up everything about you like a sponge and they’ll repeat what they’ve observed and learned from you. They observe you when you think they aren’t paying attention. A child is a recycled version of their parents. Think about it.

Tell your sons they matter

 

You’ll never know how your encouraging words will affect them.

 

 

 

We “did our damage” in the sixties and seventies – protesting, demonstrating, and marching til our feet were sore. It worked for us, but that was a different time, a different generation.  Today, things have gotten even worse.  What worked for us may not work for you.  It is time for us to pass the torch to your generation and let you lead the way – and we will follow.

I have but one answer, and that is “never forget”.  How is that done?  We have a small, but very concise and fitting manifesto:  Black Lives Matter.  We cannot let that manifesto be appropriated by slogans like “All Lives Matter”.  They do.  It’s a fact.  However, at the moment we are focusing on the wholesale slaughter of people of color who are being needlessly killed with each passing day.  “Slavery was a long time ago”.  Yet, the effects are still being felt.  “You can’t blame me for everything that happens to you”.  True.  Not everyone is to blame, but for those who are to blame, we are calling you out.  Black Lives Matter CANNOT and WILL NOT be appropriated.

When it comes to people of color being killed by the police, one of the things that comes up more and more, stated by officers of the law, is “I feared for my life”.  If you fear an unarmed person, then, you have signed on to the wrong vocation.  I can almost see someone being a bit cautious when a big, Black man is coming towards them.  Almost.  But, what about a confrontation with Black women and Black girls?  Policemen are armed to the teeth yet claim that they are still afraid for their lives??!!

Tanisha Anderson – Police were called to her mother’s home, by her mother. The police physically restrained her (Tanisha) and death ensued.  She was unarmed.  Her death was ruled a homicide.

Yvette Smith – Deputy Daniel Willis was called to her home in regards to a fight between several men at the home.  She was told to come out of the house.  When she did, Willis shot her twice, killing her as she stepped out of her doorway.  She was unarmed.

Malissa Williams – She was in a car with Timothy Russell when police claimed they heard shots coming from the car.  The police chased them and cornered them in a school parking lot.  The police opened fire, firing a total of one-hundred-thirty-seven (137) bullets into the car, killing them both.  They were unarmed.  ONE-HUNDRED-THIRTY-SEVEN shots fired by the police.

Rekia Boyd – Police Detective Dante Servin had a brief conversation with a group of four people walking outside, near his home (he was off-duty).  He drove off but thought he saw a man pull a gun and point it at him.  He then fired five (5) shots through his car window, hitting the man in the hand and hitting Boyd in the back of the head, killing her.  The man did not have a gun, but, instead, a cellphone.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones – While she was asleep on the couch with her grandmother, police entered the home with a “no knock” warrant (which means that the police break down the door without warning), and discharged a “flash bang” grenade.  The first officer to enter the home shot and killed Aiyana.  She was seven (7) years old.  And, of course, unarmed.

Alberta Spruill – In another case of a “no knock” warrant incident, officers broke into her home, threw a concussion grenade.  Spruill was handcuffed briefly but she was released when they realized that they were in the wrong home.  A few hours later, she died of a heart attack in a nearby hospital.

Sandra Bland – She was pulled over while driving (for a minor traffic violation) and was arrested for refusing to put out her cigarette.  She was slammed to the ground during the arrest.  Three days later, she was found dead in her cell of an “apparent” suicide.

 

The list goes on.  And on.  And on.  We must stay vigilant, we must never forget, and we must always cry out for justice even as hopes of its capture flee like the light of day.  The manifesto of Black Lives Matter must not be appropriated.  And so that we never forget, we MUST   #SayHerName

 

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