(Excuse how all over the place this is. I literally cried the entire time I wrote it. Then I couldn’t bring myself to read it again and edit it.)
That first picture is of me and my cousins. They both live in Florida where I grew up. More specifically Panama City, FL. Which if you all remember is the city where boot camp psychos maliciously beat down and murdered Martin Lee Anderson 6 years ago. This picture is maybe two years old but imagine those boys just a little bit taller, and maybe with a little more worry in their faces as they realize what this world is really like. I grew up with those boys so to call them “cousins” kind of cheapens the relationship, but that’s what we are. I love them with all of my heart. I remember chasing the oldest around when I was babysitting him. I remember trying to do the youngest’s hair when he was a baby. It was so long and curly, and I couldn’t get it to slick back for nothing. I remember when each one of them matriculated at the same high school that I did. I remember the feeling when Vernon graduated. All my life I’ve been so worried about these two. I’m not sure why, but I just want the best for them, and I love them so much. I guess in the back of my head, I’ve always known why.
That’s why when I heard about Trayvon Martin’s murder I was mad. That was my first reaction. Anger. I couldn’t see or feel through the rage. I was MAD. I did not cry. I read everything I could, and just worked through all of the rage I felt. Last night I was on a conference call with my fellow alums of some of Florida’s universities as we came together like we did 6 years ago for Martin Lee Anderson to develop a plan of action. I was still mad. I was able to speak with purpose, and rage was my motivation.
I want justice for Trayvon Martin’s family SO BAD. It terrifies me that we live in a society that allows this! I want to help change that. Today I woke up feeling pretty great, but then I looked on Twitter and Geraldo Rivera is telling the world that the hoodie is just as responsible for Trayvon’s death as Zimmerman, who was holding THE GUN. That’s when I lost it. I reached such a heightened state of rage, that I began to think about how I wear a hoodie all the time. The Beau wears a hoodie all the time.
And so do my cousins.
Then the tears wouldn’t stop.
Vernon is 19. Glenn is 14.
They live in Panama City, FL. 6 hours and 26 minutes away from Sandford. 389 miles.
I cannot protect them.
So at first I was mad.
Now I’m just sad.
I am tired of seeing our children buried. I’m tired of being told that the way to survive is to act “less black.” Keep your head down. Don’t wear this, don’t say that. They can “Stand their ground” but we can’t.
I don’t want to be reactive, I want to be proactive. I want to save our children. I don’t ever want to bury Vernon or Glenn over something so senseless.
I’m going to defend the dream.