When I heard about Tamir getting murdered my first thought was,
“What Black parent lets their little boy play with a toy gun outside?”
I am ashamed of that thought.
I have held it inside for over a year now.
Afraid to admit it out loud.
I am well trained in the ways of my birthplace.
There are places inside of me that are well colonized.
Black children can’t be children
if we want them to live.
Black parents can’t let them play outside with toy guns
these babies are already wrapped in that scary melanin.
I blamed his parents.
It didn’t last long.
The facts were clear even BEFORE the video was released.
He was a boy, playing with a toy.
And even if he wasn’t
Ohio is an open carry state.
He was breaking no laws.
American boys have played with guns since there were guns.
Playing grown up games with a childhood spin…
to shoot the bad guys
or be the bad guys.
It’s as American as apple pie
to see a little one pretending to shoot.
We play along.
We clutch our chests.
We pretend to die
to tell them
that this play
is not for them.
Not for Americans
One more American experience denied
You can not play like your friends.
You can not be rude.
You can not talk back.
You can not stand up.
You can not be 12 years old
in a public park
playing with a toy
found in most homes in America.
And if you do.
If you dare to be
an American boy
playing with a common toy
you will be murdered.
Your family will be denied justice.
You will bleed and scream and cry alone
for FOUR agonizing minutes.
Your big sister 2 years older than you
will be tackled to the ground,
handcuffed and placed in a police car
for trying to hold you
for fighting to get to you
for responding to your pain.
Tamir, little brother.
We failed you.
And I blamed you.
I blamed your parents.
I am ashamed.
Complicit in my own inequality.
that OUR children
should be denied parts of the American dream
because we want them to live.
Doesn’t begin to cover it.
I want MY little girl
to be free
but even more
I want her to be
So I sit
searching for answers.
I wipe tears I didn’t know were falling.
Tamir, Mother Samaria I have no words.
And I promise
I will never stop speaking his name.
And I will honor his memory all of my days.
He was murdered.
His murderer is free.
No indictment from the grand jury.
Hard to speak.
Black lives matter
in more than theory.