On Mothers.

Mother,
I write to you from among the silence,
this distance that grows between us,
these days–weeks–when we last spoke.
Writing to you
in these long, one-directional open letters
similar to those in high school, over 15 years ago,
I once wrote
because it’s the only way
I ever find and feel myself heard.

Those letters written, but never mailed.
Read by others, by never by you.

Mother,
These days waking up, getting out of bed, and facing the day
are becoming too much, too heavy to bear.
Michael Brown. John Crawford. Jordan Davis. Trayvon Martin.
the list of unarmed Black, Brown and Latino bodies–those whose names we know and those we do not–killed by the racist, un-colorblind, merciless, hands of the law.
Mother, this list is getting much too long.

In an interview, Michael Brown’s mother posed the question,
“Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school & graduate?”
These words hitting like sledgehammers to my heart.
As a public-school-student-of-color-turned-doctoral student, I know this struggle too well. Too intimately. Just the other day, I almost gave up.
But as an educator, having to turn a brave face, and face my students–
all Black, Latino and Brown–day in and day out;
having to teach young people to both be critical and “buy” into a system never designed or meant for them to succeed;
young people of color, who could have easily been,
or could easily one day be,
one of the names on this list that is getting too long;
Mother, the cross for that kind of task is getting to heavy too hold.

And although, granted, this kind of work cannot compare to those of a mother keeping and seeing her child safe both in schools, streets, neighborhoods, and home–I cannot help but wonder, mother:
Who are the children mothers get to birth, rear and keep?
Who are the children mothers get to see realized through their dreams?
And who are the children mothers choose not to keep because their children cannot be who their mothers wish them to be?

Mother,
During these days and times,
open your eyes and look around you:
Where do you stand in all of this?
Where was your loss?
What child of yours did you get to keep, or selfishly, not keep?
Queer, child-less, marriage-less, God-less: if that’s all that you choose to see, so be it.
But turn on the news, if only for a moment, to see the countless of other mothers scrapping the blood of their children from the concrete and begging for justice on the streets.
And ask yourself: who are the children mothers get to birth, rear and keep?
Who are the children mothers get to see realized through their dreams?

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