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.
Rita Arens, Managing Editor of BlogHer.com, 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!