By Parlee Jones
By now we have all heard the terrible injustice that has happened in Sanford, Florida. A 17-year-old young man named Trayvon Martin going to the store for snacks during half time of the NBA All-Star Game. Returning back to his dad’s girlfriend’s house in a gated community. Assaulted and shot by 28 year old self appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Trayvon was wearing his hoodie, this is what made Zimmerman see him as “suspicious”, the hoodie and the color of his skin. I’m not going to go into all the details, but one of the things that hit’s me hardest is the fact that Trayvon’s parents were not notified for three days, even though, the Sanford police had his cell phone.
My heart and soul weep with Trayvon’s parents, and all parents who have lost children to violence, perpetrated by whomever!
The one positive thing to take away from this terrible situation is how the WORLD COMMUNITY came together to voice their objection to Zimmerman not being arrested. How incredible to see all this support! Change.org is up to 2 and a quarter million signatures. It humbles me. It gives me hope. Hope for a brighter future.
Leaving us open for a real dialog ~ a dialog of truth.
No judgment ~ fact.
No shame ~ Acceptance.
Some people have suggested that we “teach” our kids how to react to “these types of situations”. What is the situation? Walking home from the store or walking while Black?
I feel what our children need is to know the Afrikan experience from the time we hit the shores of America. Not the text book version, which they are trying to water down even more, through curriculum renewal, but the real deal. As an old African Proverb states, “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”. Knowledge of self to better yourself.
Middle Passage ~ Willie Lynch ~ Jim Crow ~ Tuskegee Study ~ Labor Camps ~ Cointelpro ~ Fred Hampton ~ Emmet Till ~ Rosewood ~ Amadou Diallo ~ Rodney King ~ Abner Louima ~ Sean Bell ~ Jermaine Carter ~ Burning of Black Wall Street ~ James Anderson ~ James Byrd ~ I could go on and on!
We need to acknowledge these histories! Only then will our children know the ills that they are up against. Only then will they know how to react to the “situations” they find themselves in. Hmmm.
I stand here as a mother, sister, auntie, cousin to Black boys and Men. I stand here for the grandmothers of Black boys and men. I write this for our girl children too. You know why, because we came to these shores together in the bowels of the slave ships and have suffered through the same trials and tribulations. I am a strong believer of Sankofa ~ and adrinka symbol which means go back and fetch it ~ knowing your past to move on in the present and prepare for the future. Yes, people, it is that deep!
It’s that deep that our children must be awakened from this mental slavery.
From what they put in their minds and what they put in their bodies, we have to show them our glory and our pain. Maybe we can put it in a hip hop video. Maybe we can design a new line of clothing, but I digress!
Some friends and I are putting together a homage for Trayvon and our Boys and Men of Color. We will have living testimonies of experiences here in Worcester living as a Black man or boy. We will show a history of what has transpired since Plymouth Rock landed on us, as El Hajj Malik El Shabazz has said. We will talk about supporting our young people of color by being there to listen to and believe them. More details to follow soon!
I leave you with the words to Redemption Song by Robert Nesta Marley who pretty much sums up the experiences I refer to!
Old pirates, yes, they rob I. Sold I to the merchant ships. Minutes after they took I from the bottomless pit. But my hands were made strong, by the hands of the Almighty. We forward in this generation, triumphantly. Won’t you help to sing these songs of Freedom, for all I ever have is a Redemption Song. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind. Have no fear for atomic energy, for none of them can stop the time. How long shall they kill our CHILDREN (prophets) while we stand aside and look? Some say it’s just a part of it, we’ve got to fulfill the book. Won’t you help to say, these songs of freedom, is all I ever had ~ Redemption Song!
These are my thoughts. No disrespect to anyone intended.