I am a mother of a 19- year- old son whom I love fiercely. From the first moment I held him in my arms, I knew that my only job on this earth was to protect him and make sure that he grew to be the type of man that his father and I knew he could be. As he matured, I watched as society tried to set limits for him. Once in middle school, during a parent-teacher conference, the arrogant young teacher told me that she had high expectations. I had to explain to her, in no uncertain terms, that whatever her expectations were, they were no where near the ones I had for my son.
Every time he and his friends get in the car and drive away, I pray that every person who deals with them sees them as young black men with bright futures and not just some black boys in hoodies.
To some, my son, Matt is a big black man standing at 6'2" and 205 lbs, but to me he is my baby. Just, as I'm sure, Trayvon was his mother's baby.
Like many of you, when I learned the details of the Trayvon Martin case here in Sanford, literally my own backyard, my heart broke because I felt for that mother and for every black mother who has had her hopes and dreams buried along with her son's body. We love our daughters, but our sons are precious, too, because it is through them our story continues. Daughters have a way of marrying and assimilating into their husband's families, but it is our sons who continue the destiny in addition to carrying the name.
There are many places where I am supposed to be tomorrow afternoon, but I feel compelled to be in Sanford. I, along with so many other mothers, need to know why our son Trayvon Martin was brutally gunned down on his way home carrying only Skittles and an iced tea. More importantly, however, we need to know how his death is not considered a homicide in Florida.
My son Matt and I talk about everything and thankfully he feels comfortable confiding in me. When we last spoke, we discussed the Trayvon case and my son said, "Mom, isn't it funny that the black man is one of the most despised things in America, but the most often duplicated?" He went on to say that others try to imitate the way the black man walks, talks, dresses, etc. but he is still considered to be less than.
My Matt will be home from college on Spring Break next week and I will have the luxury of hugging and kissing him. A luxury that Trayvon Martin's mother will never have again. Although I will be happy to see him, it will be bittersweet because I know that he will not be able to stay in my sight forever. He will want to go and hang out with his friends dressed in jeans and his favorite hoodie. I can no longer protect him as he moves about in the world. I can only pray that he be protected.
It is not much, but it is all I have.