“As I was sitting at work on the verge of tears, just thinking that the color of my skin could literally decide on whether I would make it home to family and friends, I was at a loss. I am outraged and angry. I want ALL smoke and I want peace all at the same time. It’s hard to put into words the feelings I have. I have been asking myself over this past year how did we get here? What are you going to do? But as I wrestled with that, God spoke to me and reminded me of a question my pops would ask me every day –– ‘What kind of man do you want to be?’
“These times are trying, they have been uncomfortable and as a Black father and husband downright terrifying. This time may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure, God is in control, and I stand by that. I will continue to walk by faith and strive to be an example of Black excellence no matter what. Our character has been shot down and tried time and time again. But let me ask you, what kind of man or woman do you want to be? Although it’s been EXTREMELY hard and only getting harder, let us keep taking the high road.”
These words were written in an Instagram post by my much beloved grandson, Anthony.
I often go to his and his wife’s IG accounts to pilfer pictures of my beautiful GG’s. Even though I believe my grandson is exceptional, he is not an exception. His dad, my brothers, my male cousins, my nephews, the young men we mentor at ELITE, they are all strong, responsible, honest and good Black men. Our country is being led by a President who continues to stoke fear and encourage violence in these tumultuous days, in cities that are already reeling from too much pain and violence. Donald Trump will like you to believe that our Black fathers, sons and grandsons are dangerous and scary. This is the same tactic that Woodrow Wilson used when he aired the racist film “Birth of a Nation” in the White House.
Donald Trump has mastered the message to a small portion of this nation: that the more you are willing to give to others is a threat to your own privilege. He continues to make sure that the rich are protected from taxation while Black citizens continue to deal with over-militarized communities, under-funded schools, food deserts and shorter life expectancy than white citizens by 4-6 years.
Four hundred years of struggle of Black men and women is woven into the fabric of this nation. Racism is so much America that when you protest it, you are deemed unpatriotic. In spite of it all African American’s have never wanted revenge, we continue to fight just to have an equal shot at this “American Dream.” When I think about my grandson and his two beautiful sons, I am determined to continue the fight for a fair and equitable existence in this country. I will continue to hold those accountable who don’t believe our lives matter. I will teach my GG’s not to hate, because hate is too big a burden to carry. As Rep John Lewis told us in his last words, we must counter the hate we get with love. I will remind them to continue in the standard of Black excellence because their Black Lives Matter.