On 2/16/2014 I opened my eyes at 2:16 a.m. This kind of awakening is Spirit alone. Today is my birthday and I am 31 years old and Jordan Davis is dead. Jordan Davis would be 19 today if a white male Florida resident had not shot up the car driven by teenage children because of their loud music.
Last night a Florida jury convicted the shooter on three counts of attempted murder but could not reach a verdict on the murder charge. Jordan Davis and I share the same birthday and he is dead. Like Trayvon Martin, Emmet Till, Hadiyah Pendleton, Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant, Alfred Wright, Kendrick Johnson, Mary Turner, and so many other unfound, unidentified, unnamed murder victims, Davis’ black body is denied justice.
Our right to birth and nurture our children is constantly compromised. The successful conception, delivery, and parenting of black babies are treated as an axis of evil devised to terrorize. Our right to bring forth New Life and sustain said Life with goodness and light is under attack!
Dead black and brown bodies are the premium delicacy in white supremacy. We have countered the violence as best we could while instructing our Beloveds, “You are a child of God. Always wear your seat belts. Do not text and drive. Stay out of that neighborhood! Do not fill your car with people! Be home by 10pm. When a cop pulls you over, keep your hands on the steering wheel until he addresses you and when you are asked for your information, look him in the eyes respectfully and respond, ‘Yes Sir, I have my license and registration. My license is in my wallet and my registration is in the dashboard. May I reach for them?’ And in that moment do everything slowly and do not talk back!!!”
We tell our teens to be conscious of their bodies. Do not walk the streets alone. Do not touch it if you cannot buy it. Do not stare. Do not fear the prevalence of whiteness; instead, focus on being your best times ten so that you can experience a modicum of success.
Our right to birth and raise our children is treated as an act of terror and the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists. Therefore, oppression prevails throughout private and public sectors pimping out longevity of life to the privileged few.
Our right to birth and raise our babies without the fear of senseless violent acts provoked by music, hoodies, skittles, wallets, locs, braids, denim jeans sans belts,
Our right to nurture our children through adulthood without the assumed “inherent violence of black people” has always been denied.
And yet we conceive. And yet we birth. And yet we nurse them at our breasts despite our collective often unspoken knowing that like their Ancestors before them at any moment they can be stripped from us and slaughtered mysteriously. They can turn up dead in school gyms, dismembered in neighboring cities, drug addicted in sex trafficking houses. They can excel academically, serve this country honorably, and return from battle to lead the nation in homelessness and mental illness.
A war is being declared against our wombs and the infinite potential nestled between our thighs. And like our Mothers we will not stand by silently. No! Our lament will be heard in the streets, our songs will signal the beginning of a new revolt, our kitchen tables will double as strategic training stations, and our women’s society meetings will take on a new expanded agenda because our womb potential is being denied!
Our right to prepare for proms, attend graduations, consult college advisors, purchase caps and gowns, select dorm room bedding, counsel roommate conflicts, and laugh at youthful mistakes once our babies are grown and raising children of their own—this inalienable right afforded to all who choose to parent children is revoked with every bullet, every violent encounter, every lynch mob, every dehumanizing legislation, every new prison opening, every war, and every school closing
We will stand our ground!
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