I can remember being in the process of our homestudy for adoption during the first half of 2012. We had told our worker that we wanted to adopt 2 boys between the ages of 5-9 years old. I had been looking at the photos of boys – ones that may join our family – seeing innocence and pain and feeling something rising within me. A motherhood birthed not through flesh and bone but within my heart.
On February 26th, 2012, this boy cried out for a help that never came as his skittles and bottle of tea fell to a ground that soaked up his blood.
I was so disconnected from lament and Trayvon Martin’s life being stolen hit me with a force that deflated the growing motherhood within me. I panicked. I remember asking people around me “how in the world can I be a mother to black child?” and beginning to face a crumbling reality that love would never be enough.
This boy – his face like the others – innocent and pained, remains a place of deep lament for me. He is one of the far too many reasons why my dresser holds only black clothing. Choosing both outward and inward lament has meant a connection with feelings and humanity and injustice in ways that keeps me rooted to the reason why I keep laboring toward the abolition of white dominance.
Someone in one of the cohorts recently said “I joined this work because I wanted to learn but I didn’t realize how close to home this would be”. My white community cannot afford to do surface level anti-racism work. It must reach into the raw places within us or it won’t authentically change us in ways that build collective liberation. If we find ourselves thinking we know “enough” or saying “someday”, then it’s time to go deeper.
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