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A year after Eric Garner’s death, we’re still wondering what to tell our sons

On December 3, 2014, nearly five months after the unjust killing of Eric Garner, a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer responsible. When I heard the decision, I was devastated. I have a young African-American son, and I don’t know what to tell him as he comes of age, in this America, to avoid trouble with the police. I quickly wrote an article in response, pouring all of my feelings onto paper. When I was selected as a Voices of the Year honoree, I was excited, but I knew how incredibly difficult it would be to read my piece aloud.

This past Friday, one year after Eric Garner’s death, I made my way to the #BlogHer15 stage to do my reading. As I read my piece, a photo of my son appeared on the monitor and I broke down in tears. The subsequent response from the audience was incredibly supportive. After the ceremony, women of all races came up to me — some with tears in their eyes — and said that they too don’t know what to tell their sons.

More: from the BlogHer15 conference

Rita Arens, Managing Editor of, MC’d the awards and told me backstage that she would come on stage and help me finish reading the article if I couldn’t do it. Except, I don’t know how she would have done that, as she admitted she was crying too!

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