This is probably one of the easiest and most difficult things I’ve written in my life. Easy because it’s about Baltimore – a city so charming it’s been nicknamed “Charm City.” Difficult because it’s also about injustice, violence and uncertainty for the black and even bi-racial youths of our country.
Despite what happened to Freddie Gray, I love the city of Baltimore and I always will. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to write this piece, despite my swearing that I wouldn’t. Here are my other reasons:
- I am a black woman
- I am a mother
- I live in the U.S.
- I live in Maryland
- Despite what the media portrays, Baltimore is an amazing city full of beauty, love, good proud people and amazing food (yes, I had to throw that in there… I write about food).
To be so close to Baltimore as an interracial family has been very tough. It was never a walk in the park, but recently it’s been so much worse. It’s brought out the ugly in usually otherwise beautiful people. People I call friends and family. I’ve watched this situation up close and personal and the feelings it has invoked in me have been confusion, pain, heartache, sorrow and at times complete and utter hopelessness. The feeling that none of this will ever get better.
It’s totally unnerved me. I’m not just scared. I’m terrified. I’ve never written that out before, but I’m being brutally honest here. I am terrified for my family, my children, me… there are so many emotions.
I am a black woman married to a white man and we have four beautifully biracial (as I like to say) children. Right now, this scares me. Our sons are growing up, and though I don’t worry about their behavior because I know we’re raising them well, I do worry about how the rest of the world will perceive them. We are, after all, essentially raising black men in America.
They are Freddie Gray. They are Michael Brown. They are “insert name here.”
Since all this violence began, there are times when I hold my son, who turns two this month, and look into his beautiful brown eyes and just cry. I feel the pain of my ancestors. I feel the pain of those who have gone before me only a few short decades before. Those who had to deal with so much worse; segregation, lynching and horrific scenes that I can’t even begin to imagine. I can only think that our generation is feeling but a sampling of that, and I apologize. I apologize to my ancestors for taking their sufferings so lightly and not heeding their warnings. I think about the Loving family and wonder if this is how they felt. I feel sick because of the world that I brought my son into. But then I listen to voices of justice and change, and I remember that there is hope. That’s how I felt when I listened to Marilyn Mosby announce charges against the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. Hopeful.
There is justice and there are systems in place that do good work, but we have to stick together and not lose hope as we work toward a better country for our children. We can’t ever lose hope, because there are people like me who, despite being heartbroken by these tragedies, realize that we can do better. When we stand together and begin to repair what has been broken within our nation. I truly believe where there is hope there is healing.