Charlie Fekadu is Black Life.
Mallory Jessica, Piper Ann and Heather Marie are White Lives.
I’m talking to my friends and family members who don’t understand what’s happening in the world right now. Who shake their heads and exhale an exasperated “ALL lives matter” as they turn off the news. Who have talked about compliance with the police. Who deny that white privilege exists because they grew up poor. I’m talking about someone – maybe you – who doesn’t know me all that well, but follows me anyway for whatever reason, even though we “have different beliefs”. I’m talking to the white women and men in my life who can’t wrap their heads around Black Lives Matter. Who like my photos but don’t agree with my posts. Please hear me out.
Charlie has been my son since he was 18 months old. He’s a literal genius and an old soul and a trickster and wildly affectionate and just. Soon after his adoption, his sisters were born. Since becoming his mother, almost every person, white and black, have supported us as a family. Showered him with love and affection and praise and pride.
Look at this screenshot from Facebook from 5th grade:
96 Likes. 7 Comments. Was one of them you?
If you love this boy, why can’t you say Black Lives Matter?
Look deep in your heart and think before you answer this next one.
Which of these children in this photo do you think is in more danger simply by living in America?
Imagine one of my children is in the hospital. It’s critical. Its round the clock worry, waiting, watching, praying, hoping. Would you walk into that room, wipe my tears, hug me tight and gently whisper, “yes, but ALL your children matter“?
I truly believe I was born into several kinds of privilege: I’m white, I’m healthy, I have parents who love and support me. But I did not have it easy. None of us did. I recently drove by the place I grew up and took a photo.
That’s it. 2 parents, 3 kids, and sometimes a dog or a cat. In the middle of a trailer park, bussed past two mostly white middle, middle/upper class schools to go the poor school in the black neighborhood, I guess so all the poor kids could be together. Despite those years of hardship (and Hamburger Helper) I never had to have a talk with my parents about how to act around the police. About compliance. I never thought about my race. I went to a mostly black middle and high school and even though I had a hand-me-down backpack and off-brand shoes I still felt it. I still had the upper hand and I KNEW IT. Without even knowing that I did. Why didn’t you feel that too?
Maybe you’re starting to come around. Maybe some of the videos of unwarranted police brutality are stirring something in you. Maybe you’re realizing that 4000 years of oppression has a boiling point. Maybe you are starting to see things inside yourself that you pushed so deep down because working on them was too hard, too ugly. Maybe when George Floyd called out for his Mama, you thought of yours, and what she would have done to get someone’s knee off your neck. Maybe you wanted to be that Mama for him, too.
You can’t love my son and say “All Lives Matter”. You can’t heart his photos. You can’t come to his college graduation, or the launch of whatever it is he’s going to make to change the world with. I won’t allow it. I will protect him from you just as hard as I’m trying to protect him from dying in the street someday. And don’t tell me “Oh, no, Charlie would comply.” This is so much bigger than that. Jordan Edwards was DRIVING AWAY from a party when cops shot him in the car. You’re lying to yourself if you think all these murders were because of resistance and even if they were, fighting back does NOT CONSTITUTE MURDER.
So I need you to say it. Time’s up. You can post it, chant it in your living room, text it to me, text it to Charlie, write your own thoughts about how you are beginning to get it. Don’t be scared of what your other well-meaning but so very wrong white friends will think. Maybe they are waiting on one of you to realize it first. If you can’t bring yourself to say it, message me and tell me why and I’ll try to get you there. If you want to say it but are afraid of your overly conservative and passively racist spouse, message me. But you can’t stay silent anymore. Not with me. Not with us.
Put a sign in your window. Here’s ours:
All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter. SAY IT.
Want more? She says it all right here. WATCH UNTIL THE END.
This content is shared with permission from Heather Writes Some Words