May 25, 2020 George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His death stirred up racial tension throughout the world. My home was no exclusion. My children, being home for about 3 months at the time due to the Coronavirus pandemic have become pretty engulfed in social media and television news. Needless to say keeping a 13 year old TikToker, a 9 year old YouTube fanatic and a 6 year old brown boy that's watching and listening to everyone around him out of the loop on the going ons in society was tough. I've never brought the topic up, about the racial tensions, I answered questions they had the best I could. I would wait until the kids were in bed to watch the news that frankly they already knew. I mean who was I fooling? Myself? They had the access to answers for questions and I was superficially protecting them from what was necessary. Over dinner one evening, just me and the children home, my eldest asked me if I thought the officers were justified in their killing of this man. Taken aback by this question, not knowing her stance, I turned the question back on her. She proceeded to tell me well I heard he tried to cash a fake check... hmmm I began, so do you think that justifies him dying? The answer was no. This single question turned into a history lesson. I couldn't keep not being the one my children got their information from. Mid discussion my son bursts out, "I hate it here! They just want to kill us. That's why I dont want to go outside!" For weeks I struggled to get him dressed YES, AT 6! Forced him to put on his mask to leave. All while he would say "but I dont want to go outside, what if I get sick?" Somewhere along the way it turned into what if the police kill me. I couldn't hold him tight enough. That hurt me. As I gave him false hope that I would be there to protect him forever. I knew I couldn't. I know my Brown boy will grow up and become an intimidating black man in someones eyes. The pain that I felt for him was so terrible. I tried to fathom how at 6 years old, you could possible feel and think so strongly. But that is what we see and hear. On the television, on social media, from friends, relatives, you name it. I wanted to take every device that gave my children access to these tragedies. But that would do nothing. I could only raise them to be respectable human beings, teach them early, how to handle themselves in tough situations and pray they never have to be in one.
I've made it my duty to fill my children's schedule with positive things. My girls have started a lip gloss business since. Zaiden has had one on one time with a talented artist thanks to dad. All this because, I dont want my children to worry about the actions of others. We can't change how others see us or act.
Zaiden is my prince, my baby, my little chocolate man. He makes my world complete. He is funny, and loves to dance. He likes anime and playing with his beyblades. He still has training wheels on his bicycle. Zaiden has a love for building things and numbers, boy is he amazing in math. Zaiden says he wants to be an artist when he grows up. I hope so, with all the money I've spent on sketch books and upgrading pencils. I tell him everyday that he matters. To me, to his family, to himself and to the world.
Now part of our routine consists of:
"Zaiden, repeat after me, I Matter!"