Dear BW, MW & SW,
As I write this letter, you’re playing outside, enjoying the warmth of the sun in the cool, autumn breeze. Your biggest concerns right now are making leaf piles, finding sticks, and trying to determine what game you’re going to play next.
MW- I love that your confidence is growing and that you’re asserting yourself in choosing the game you want to play.
BW- I love that you’re letting someone else choose the game to play (every now and then)!
SW- I love that you’re always doing you and choosing for yourself!
With every fiber of my being, I wish that your biggest concerns in life would be raking leaves, playing with sticks, and choosing what game you’ll play next. But I’m not naive. While these are your current concerns, my biggest concerns center around your safety. One of my concerns is our society seeing you and all persons as human. You know that even though our skin doesn’t match, we are the same. But not everyone in our world knows that. Some people think that skin color determines our worth.
And BW, you’re starting to understand this. You’ve been learning about slavery, Jim Crow laws, and Civil Rights the past few months. At just 8 years old, you understand that just a few generations ago, people were enslaved based on the color of their skin. You understand that there are unjust laws even now in our society. You let me know this when we stood at the memorial site where Michael Brown Jr. was killed. And you understand that because you are the color of chocolate and I am milky white, that society sees you differently than me. Because we are seen differently, I remain concerned for the safety of all three of you.
There are times that remind me how much I am concerned about your safety.
As the three of you continue to grow into beautiful young women, there will be people in our world – even in our neighborhood – who see you as a nuisance or a threat simply because of the color of your skin. I teach you to stay on the sidewalk and not walk in people’s yards not simply because it’s polite, but because Missouri has castle laws.
Even though you’re only kids, white people continue to see black kids as a threat instead of who you are: kids. And as you grow taller and older, some white people will only see your blackness. They won’t see you as a person. Some people will even feel justified in harming you because there are laws in our country that protect them and not you.
All this leaves me with a heavy heart. And this is particularly on my mind today because yesterday afternoon, the cops who killed Breonna Taylor were not charged with murder or causing her death. But our laws protect them and not her, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
Breonna Taylor has not received justice. Yet again, America tells black people that your lives don’t matter. But you know better.
You know that Breonna Taylor’s life matters.
You know that your lives matter. And you know that black lives matter. Don’t ever forget that. Don’t ever let society tell you otherwise. You matter.
I promise to keep fighting for you and for justice. I will continue taking to the streets, reading and learning, contacting politicians, donating and voting. It may not sound like much when lives are at stake, but those are things I am doing and will continue to do.
Black lives matter. It’s time our country has laws that reflect that.
With all the love,
Your heartbroken mama who continues to fight
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