Archive for March, 2012

Oops, I did it again! Return of the chipmunk

A little bit of cockiness combined with taking my eye off the prize has bit me in the ass once again. Oh I can blame this or that, but the truth is I got cocky and sloppy and last night I got confirmation from the Spousal Unit, I have gained weight or to use our code which means red alert “Your cheeks are starting to look a tad chipmunk like”.

I admit last night I fell into a restless sleep asking myself what went wrong. I practice yoga several times a week and while it won’t take a ton of pounds off, I do some walking as well. I eat relatively well, had been maintaining my weight more or less except for a few extra pounds but clearly I have crossed the line.

Then it hit me! Back late last year when my dreams to move my agency to larger and nicer location became a reality and a lot of hard work, I fell into some old traps. Not eating properly, skipping meals and my old nemesis, portion control. The old, well I didn’t really eat breakfast so I will eat a larger lunch. I realized I have been doing that more than I care to admit, of course I know skipping meals is never a great idea but I didn’t think I had been doing it that much. Add in the fact that my office is now mere steps away from a pizzeria that gives a generous discount, yeah, it didn’t take long to figure out where I went wrong. I admit though that having stopped my weekly baking habit as well as giving up calorie laden coffee drinks, I figured I was all good to go. The truth is I set myself up for this plain and simple. Also after year of working with no snacks at my desk, I must confess at this moment, there is an organic chocolate bar, a bag of granola and a bag of hot chips in my desk.

I have toyed with going back to Weight Watchers in the past, where I hold a lifetime membership and this morning I realized I really need to go back. Weight Watchers does one thing for me that I know I need help with and that is accountability. Something about paying $12 a week to be weighed by someone who won’t let me explain away the numbers is what I need at this moment. Based off my visit to the bathroom scale, I would say I have 20 lbs to say good bye to, while part of me is saddened about this, the truth is I have not gained back even half of the almost 50 pounds I took off some years ago. So despite this set back to the land of chipmunk cheeks, it’s okay, weight loss and maintenance like much of life is a journey, sometimes it’s good and sometimes….well you just look for the next day.

I have been public over the years in sharing my struggle and journey with my weight but I admit I didn’t plan on sharing this, I felt a bit of shame. Yet this morning when I realized I felt shame, I knew that was more a reason to share, to keep myself honest. Hell, most of us at some point in life gains weight, shit happens. Now let me get back to my tasty salad!

On jackpots…gratitude and being in the now

It’s probably no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am an avid listener of public radio, so much so that my alarm clock is set to wake me to the sounds of the local public radio station. As usual today the clock went off at the normal painful time of 7:25am and I took the first few minutes to listen to world happenings while finding my bearings. The hot story this morning was the Mega Millions jackpot which is up to some ridiculously crazy sum of money, in my groggy state I really didn’t pay much attention until I heard a man say he was praying he could win the jackpot so that he could finally start living life. I am not sure why, but that statement stayed in my head throughout my prayers and meditation this morning.

As I hopped online a little later, I noticed many people talking about what they would do if they won the jackpot. There is nothing wrong with playfully fantasizing about what we would do if we won a jackpot but as I strive to be more mindful in all areas of my life, I often think how many years I wasted not enjoying the life I have at hand.

Look, I am not saying anyone is unhappy with the life they have at present but I do believe words have power and what we speak is powerful and can impact how we feel. For someone to say even in jest that winning a bajillion dollars will allow them to finally starting living life, actually says a lot. It says what most of us think, that life finally begins when we lose weight, get our degrees, get a partner and the list goes on. I most certainly have been guilty of thinking that if I accomplished XYZ that I would finally be living and nothing could be further from the truth. I spent 6 years or so in my late 20’s to early 30’s going to school getting my undergraduate and graduate degrees. When I was in school, I gave up a lot, missed a lot too; always thinking that once I received my degrees life would be grand. Well those papers are nice, but life didn’t magically change other than I owe a shitload of cash. I don’t regret going to school though I regret that I went at such a pace that I missed a lot of life because I was under the impression something special would happen once I met my goal.

The thing is every day we wake up, in reasonable good spirits with a relatively healthy body/mind and a roof over our heads, food on the table and people who care about us, is a great day. We live our lives as if time is infinite and that we know we will get 90+ years and the fact is not even our next minute is promised. Life can change on a dime, ask Trayvon Martin’s parents…he went out to grab a snack and never came home.

There is nothing wrong with a little fantasizing or even daydreaming about the what if’s, but far too many us ignore our now and stay focused on things that are not promised thus missing what we do have. This has been a struggle of mine and one that in the past year I have worked to deal with, because more times than I care to admit I realized I was ignoring what I had in hopes of what I wanted.

Last night I shared on twitter a tool I use to keep me grounded in my now, every night before I go to bed, I go low tech and grab a pen and my journal (remember those?) and write down what I call gratitudes. Gratitudes are 5 things that happened over the course of my day that added some value to my life, made me smile or were just cool as hell. I admit it was hard at first, initially my list was pretty redundant: man, kids, house…you get the point. Then I really started looking at my days and saw gifts where I had never seen them: staff member who made my day easier, cuddles with my kid, great conversation, sunrise that made me stop and so on. Some days the gratitudes just pour out and some days I admit they are hard but the point is to see what I have and in looking to see what I have, it makes me more present in my life.

Winning a jackpot probably does add a lot of value but often times what we need and what will truly make us happy goes far beyond money. So good luck if you played but even if you don’t win, remember you are already a winner!

Navigating life…wisdom from the elders

I was an only child until I turned 8 years old and because of the gap in years between my brother and me, we often joke that we were functional onlies. By the time he reached an age I may have wanted to get to know him; I was already out of the house. As a result of that age gap I spent a lot of time around the grown-ups. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s when I was coming up, entertainment options were limited, no cartoons past 11am, parents back then did not tailor their social lives around their kids either. In many instances kids just got brought wherever parents went and you adjusted. I suspect that is why I was a big reader as a kid, no iGadget to plug in, limited TV channels. So reading and overhearing the grown-ups talk was what I did once toys no longer held my attention.

Looking back, I am sure I overheard quite a few conversations that probably weren’t appropriate but as I became a teenager, I was actually allowed to be a part of the grown up conversations and for that I am eternally grateful.  In fact I grew to love those grown up talks, when the grown-ups in my life primarily my parents and grandmother and other assorted relatives would talk openly about life and the challenges that they faced. I knew early on that marriage was hard work; I also realized that adults often hit an age where they seemed to need to figure out who they were. I knew that at almost 50 my grandpa took off for his family home in Texas to figure it out…leaving my Grandma for a couple of years. As a kid, I remember being confused about why Pa-Pa had left, eventually he did come back and they stayed together until he died. Years later when I was a battled scarred young adult leaving my brief and tumultuous first marriage, my Granny told me their whole story, again it still didn’t make sense since even though I was already relationship weary, I still believed that love and marriage was a straight line, that it either worked or didn’t. Now though? I get it, I totally get why he left, why she was fine with it and why he came back and they were fine.

This morning I found myself thinking of those talks within my family as I realized yet another person I know is at what I am starting to believe is the crossroads. That place we get to, where all of sudden we need to align our dreams and hopes with who we really are, where we no longer want to be anything less than our authentic selves, no matter how messy.

Yet I fear with my generation, Gen X and the younger generations we are losing the wisdom of the elders that we all once had to assist us in this journey. As more of us are no longer geographically near our tribes or simply not as close as previous generations used to be, we lose the voices and wisdom of grandparents and other loved ones letting us know we are normal. Instead now we have a generation approaching middle age, or already there that on the outside looks fine but inside is wondering what the hell?

For all our technological savvy and connectedness though, we lose something when we don’t have wisdom from those who have walked before us in this journey of life. I suspect this is one reason blogs especially those written by women and mothers speak to so many of us; sometimes you just need to know you are not alone in this world. After all, even though our elders didn’t have all the gadgets and accoutrements we have that make life easier, something’s remain the same.

Hate is the new Black

Sometimes trends and styles become all the rage and you wonder why or how…after all the 1980’s had some pretty horrendous styles, why are they coming back? On a serious note and this is a serious matter, hate and ignorance appear to be at an all-time level and many of us are wondering, how is this even possible?

In 2008, so many truly wanted to believe that as a nation we had turned a corner with regards to racism; after all we elected Barack Obama president, surely that meant we were post-racial. As we quickly learned, Obama’s ascent to the White House did not mean we were over the racial hump in this country. In the past several years the level of bigotry and hate are rising and when these cases are brought to light, many of us take to our blogs, our groups, etc. and discuss it but nothing changes.

Creating change that will last is going to take more than sharing links on stories and having twitter conversations. Don’t get me wrong, these are good starting points. But as the Trayvon Martin case highlights, many of us are clueless when it comes to talking race and racism. Just this morning, I read this piece where a white mother ponders how do we discuss the evil that is racism with white kids…you just do it, to quote the old Nike slogan.

Too many of us, and I have been guilty of this at times, live in a circle where we surround ourselves with people who are like us, in many cases that means the people we call our friends and family are the same race and ethnicity as us. Or they have similar leanings as us, so in other words when we do discuss weighty matters such as bigotry, hate, and racism, we are essentially having a circle jerk and then we wonder why nothing changes. One of my favorite bloggers, The Field Negro in this post sums it up brilliantly “The thing is, far too many of you so called progressive thinking people have been fooled into thinking that A-merry-ca is this forward thinking place full of enlightened people. You watch too many commercials with hip interracial friends getting along while sipping beer and playing with puppies. That is not A-merry-ca. That is what Madison Avenue wants A-merry-ca to be.” I agree with Field 100%, we have been jerking ourselves and bought into the dream that America is this enlightened place and sadly it is not.

What happened to Trayvon Martin frankly is only shocking in that it was a civilian who pulled the trigger since typically it is a law enforcement officer, otherwise its business as usual and yet we act like this is something new. Then we have what happened to 32 year old Shaima Alawadi an Iraqi mother of 5 living in El Cajon, CA, she was found beaten to death with a note left saying go back to your country, you are a terrorist. This wasn’t the first time the family had received such a note but they brushed it off, didn’t report it and now 5 children are motherless. As we are seeing more Iraqi refugees in the area that my agency is serving, this case chilled me to my core. I know there are ignorant people with biases, hell I have been in professional meetings where people have made disparaging comments. Hate is real.

Hate and bigotry will only cease to be fashionable when we get off our collective asses and step outside of our comfort zone. When as parents we talk about the hard and uncomfortable stuff early in life before our kids start to internalize societal messages that say white is best and everything else sucks. If we have no friends or acquaintances of difference, we need to ask ourselves why? Thanks to technology, even if you live in the whitest state in the country, you can connect with others. Do it! If we fancy ourselves progressives, maybe we need to start the dialogue with conservatives so we can create a middle ground rather than 2 opposing ends of the spectrum.

Hate may be the new Black, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Quality of time versus quantity of time, it’s a dilemma I face with regards to my kids more specifically the 6 year old, even though it’s been known to rear its head even with the 20 year old. As a mother who happens to hold another job aside from the mom role outside of the house, I always feel like I am on the tightrope with regards to quality and quantity of time lately as I have become more active in taking time for me outside of my worker bee and mom roles, that tightrope has gotten even tighter.

The past few weeks have been hectic professionally as I start ramping up for program changes and have entered my least favorite time of year…grant writing and begging. As a result I know my attention has been scattered at home and a few days ago decided to take a few mental health days where I decided to not work and just be present with my family. A funny thing happened though, here I was all prepared to hang out with my daughter and frankly she just wasn’t feeling me. I spent two days being present, picking her up from school one day to have a tea party at a local bakery, something she had requested. Of course it was during the heat wave, so the bakery really wasn’t comfortable and the kid didn’t want tea.

I figured I would try again the next day and made the decision to switch some plans around so that Friday we could engage in a little baking time as we prepared for the Spousal Unit’s birthday and then followed up with something she had asked me about…make our own pizza night. A slightly better response but still not quite the mom-kid bond fest I had hoped for but the weekend got better, granted it happened when I was less mentally present and you know what? That’s okay.

Last night before I unplugged for the evening, I came across a twitter conversation about raising kids and the balancing act and saw a discussion on quality of time versus quantity of time. I think this is something many parents grapple with especially in the SAHM versus WOHM path. Yet as a parent who has an older (adult) child, I found myself wondering how many of us give our kids what they need? Or frankly even what they want?  In the past, I have always tried to have high quality time, yet both of my kids to varying degrees frankly are more interested in quantity of time. I have tried to ignore that fact, but for us it’s our truth. The 6 year old is far more happy on days when I am home when she comes home from school and even if we are not directly engaging, she just likes knowing I am here should she want to engage with me. Same thing for college boy, when he is home, we often will do things, but our best connections always seem to happen late at night generally when I am heading to bed and we end up talking for hours.

I personally prefer quality time, for me when I am in a place where I am fully present and engaging with my kids, and maybe it’s because deep down I know quality of time feels better to me when I am short on actual time. Yet in 20 years of parenting, I am becoming more and more convinced that just as we raise our kids, our kids raise us and gently shape our parenting path based off what they need and want.

In the end it matters not what we choose, it matters most that we meet our kid’s needs, as for me, I am thankful I have a job that allows me flexibility to give the quantity of time when it’s most needed.

Hoodies don’t kill, but ignorance and hate do

It’s Friday, the ole man’s birthday is tomorrow and despite the ever-changing state of our lives, we are still each other’s best friend, so my mind was on cake baking and all that good jazz. However this morning while sipping my daily joe to get my motor started, I stumbled into some online stupidity. It seems America’s favorite *smirk* journalist Geraldo Rivera decided to take to the twitter and explain that Trayvon Martin was killed because he was wearing a hoodie. BGIM say what????

Of course twitter lit into his ass with all it had but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there really are people who believe that if people of color wear certain clothes or do certain things that we will decrease the likelihood of having a cap busted in our ass. To that I say please read this post by the Black Snob, she breaks it down in a way that frankly I don’t have the writing chops to do.

There are simply people who for whatever reason refuse to see the humanity of Black people and what we wear or what we do is irrelevant. The fact is that some of the best thugs dress in thousand dollar suits and are very white! Do the names Bernie Madoff, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush mean anything to you? All old white guys who are pure fucking criminals and thugs, they don’t wear hoodies but trust me; they are thugs of the highest order. As someone reminded me Dick Cheney is such a thug, he shot a so-called friend in the face and no one said boo! Call me late to lunch, but that is some Tony Montana shit…straight thuggery, but I digress.

I am realizing that the death of an innocent child is causing us as a collective to start an honest dialogue on race in the United States and while generally I would say that is good, fact is for many this seems to be painful. Change is painful and generally discussions on such serious matters are meant to cause you to feel something internally, growing pains are very real. Yet when you try not to feel that discomfort or worse yet try to co-op the feelings and experiences of people of color, you then become part of the problem. The reason we have never advanced beyond seeing race is because no one wants to get raggedy, well let’s not let a child’s death be in vain, let’s work towards a world where one day any child can wear a hoodie without fear they will lose their life.

Now let me get back to my baking…happy weekend!

Racism and hate affect us all

I read this post this morning by Arwyn over at Raising My Boychick, and while I know most of y’all don’t click the links, I implore you to read her piece. It’s worth the click. It dawned on me after reading her post that we are all victims when racism and hate win out. In the near month since Trayvon Martin was killed and the outrage has grown, the focus has been on the plight of young black men who are clearly targeted. Yet the sad truth is we all lose when these types of hateful and cowardice acts occur.

The thing is, many white folks will offer their condolences and sympathy when these acts occur and many will even admit they are glad they won’t know ever know the possible pain of losing a son to hate, but the reality is that is a rather simplistic way of looking at things.  As Arwyn rightly points out in her piece while her son may never be the target, he sure could grow up to pull the trigger and if that happens it’s not one Mama who loses a son but two.

It’s no secret now that in Black families we raise our kids with frank discussions about race and difference from an early age. We know too well that we don’t have the luxury or privilege of ignoring it and waiting until we deem that our kids are ready. Yet the sad fact is that while many white families think they have the luxury of ignoring race and difference, the reality is you don’t either.

If you wait until your kid is 6 or 7 or even older to talk race and difference, it’s too late. By the time you decide to have the talk, your child has already figured out the many ways in which whiteness is prized and darkness is not and the seeds are planted that could possibly harvest a rotten harvest decades later.

I think very few people in 2012 intentionally set out to raise racist kids but in almost 4 years of working primarily with low income white youth, trust me when you don’t talk race and difference, they learn hate from the greater world. My center in the past year has experienced a browning due to an influx of Sudanese and Iraqi refugees settling in our area. A few weeks ago, several of our Iraqi kids were speaking in Arabic when a lovely girl who happens to be white told them “You are in America, knock it out and speak English” We were all stunned and knowing this child’s family, I doubt she learned that at home, but in the greater world. I encounter similar incidents when young white kids attempt to speak to me in some half assed Ebonics they heard on television…mind you I don’t speak that way at work and I doubt their parents do. My point being that if we don’t establish a good foundation for our kids, someone else will do it and may not be nice.

To paraphrase Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother at a rally “Trayvon is not just her son, but all our son’s, this is a not a white or black thing” It really isn’t and until we start getting serious about realizing that, the cycle of hate that creates a George Zimmerman will continue. As I tweeted earlier today, I can’t imagine George’s mother is too happy knowing that daily the odds are increasing that her son will be locked up. In the end two sons lose because of hate. It’s no longer enough to strive to be a good person and not actively hate, you need to do more and your kids need to see it early on.

 

 

Teenagers are people too!

Over the past week, I have spoken to many on and offline about the Trayvon Martin case and one thought came up that I have heard few people seriously talk about; of course it’s easy to focus on the obvious factors that Florida has silly laws (Stand Your Ground is insane…sorry) and the clear racism that played a role in this case. But as a buddy and fellow mom pointed out to me, this is also about the sad fact that teenagers in our culture seem to have little value.

For all the talk of bettering the world for our kids, it seems we as a whole tend not to see teenagers and don’t value them. I see this a great deal in my work and sometimes in dealing with professional colleagues it’s clear that we don’t know the place of teens in our society. Are they kids? Or are they mini adults that need to be molded in our exact image? No one seems to know.

Once upon a time in a world far away, there was no official teenage-hood, you had kids and then at a certain age kids were considered adults. Then somewhere along the line came the recognition that teens were also kids yet we have never truly valued them and respected them in my opinion. It’s easy to recognize that in just the lack of public spaces we allocate for teens, that we don’t see them. In the childhood years, we tend to have public spaces and a plethora of programs for kids, acknowledging that kids need their own spaces. Yet let them become teenagers and all of sudden there are no teen spaces.

Instead we complain when we see them in public spaces, over the past decades we have seen inane rules restricting their access to public spaces such as malls, we limit their access to movies and the list the goes on. Then we wonder why teens appear angry and surly. You would be angry too, if your very presence seemed to annoy people especially if you were in a group with your friends.

While teenage black males are a prime target to be viewed with suspicious eyes thanks to the racism that we try to say doesn’t exist, the fact is teenagers in general are viewed with suspicion unless they are superstars…straight A’s, involved in sports, etc. Whenever any crime happens and involves teenagers we are quick to assert whether or not said teenager was a good kid or not. I often joke if you are a teenager and something bad happens, if you are “good” society sees you as a kid, if you are “bad” well we really try to push you into adult status as a way to deal with the conflicts we have when it comes to teenagers.

I recently blogged about mothering older kids and heard from a few folks in the trenches but by and large most had no words of wisdom, either because they haven’t reached that stage with their own kids or simply don’t know how you mother teenagers and young adults.

In the case of Travyon, he was clearly one of the “good” ones which is one of many reasons his case is finally getting the attention that it deserved from day one. Yet I find myself wondering if Trayvon had been prone to trouble as teens are sometimes prone to do (trust me I was that teenager…I got into lots of trouble) would that have colored people’s opinions and thus led to less public outcry aside from the Black community?

Teens are people too and we need to see them and value their unique being and place in our society. Just like adults and kids they need respect too!

These are not nice times that we are living in; it seems almost daily our senses and souls are confronted with a never-ending stream of misery. Some say that things are not really bad, it’s just that technology and media cycles have increased our capacity to hear about the misery that is projected onto our fellow beings 24/7. I agree there is some truth in that but the constant stream of negatives seeps into our souls and has us living for the future and what we are hoping for or looking back in the past for what we had. I can’t speak for anyone else but for me such living is not life. It keeps me in a state where I ignore my present and considering that yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t promised all I have is this moment. This moment to grasp with arms wide and my heart ready to receive and enjoy.

Last night as I tweeted with others about the Trayvon Martin case and was reminded of just how fucked up our culture is when it comes to men of color, I felt myself tensing up and getting angry. Of course this is a situation where that anger is justified, after all a young man’s life was cut short all because a man felt he was entitled to play the role of judge and dole out punishment for perceived crimes (walking while Black). As the outcry and demand for justice for Trayvon continues, we are also hearing the shared stories of all parents raising black and brown boys and the state of anxiety that we live in constantly. Oh, it may not be a debilitating anxiety but for anyone that has ever raised or loved a man of color, there is a certain sense that tomorrow may never be.  Just last night I was reminded of that as I read a news report out of my hometown, over this past weekend 10 people lost their lives including a 6 year old girl and 40 were wounded. For 10 people tomorrow did not come.

In the past year, I have been striving to be present and lessen my anxiety and while I can’t change the world single-handedly I can change how I perceive it by the very act of being present in each moment and receiving the good with the bad. Last night as I did my evening meditation and gratitude, I was struck by for all the shitty things that happen, for most of us there is something good even in the darkest moments.

Since the beginning of the year, I have completed a daily gratitude journal, at night before I go to bed, I write down 5 things that I am grateful for. I admit when I started this process I had a hard time with this concept, often repeating the same things, family, roof over my head, etc…you get the picture. Recently though I have seen a shift in my daily gratitude, sometimes giving thanks for things it’s so easy to take for granted yet add to our quality of life. After all, hot water to shower with is a given but wake up one cold morning in need of a shower and find out there is no hot water.

I share this today because so many of us our grappling with life and big issues and frankly it is easy to not see the good in a world gone mad. Yet a practice of daily gratitude is one way to keep us grounded to our truth and see a hint of sun when the overcast clouds seems like they will never go away. So with the arrival of spring and new beginnings, I encourage you to take on 10 minutes of gratitude before you head to sleep. It will change your life!

I have said it before but I am going to say it again, while raising kids in general is hard, it’s a job that is a lot harder when you are raising boys of color in the US. When raising a young man of color, it’s almost as if you are doing so with that double consciousness that W.E.B DuBois spoke of so many years ago. For me that meant raising my now 20 year old with a parental mindset but sadly with the knowledge that one day he would not be seen as just a kid but that he will be seen as a potential suspect. I am sure for some of you that very concept may seem strange but to anyone raising a young man of color, you are probably nodding your head.

Four years ago, when my son 16 one early evening he took a walk down to the local convenience snack shop to grab a bite to eat, nothing extraordinaire about that fact. Hell, teenagers often go out to grab a bite to eat! Well my son grabbed a steak and cheese sandwich and an iced tea and proceeded to walk back home as he had done many times before. However not even a block away from the store a cop stopped him, demanding to see what was in hands and then proceeded to tell him he looked like a suspect they were looking for who had been burglarizing cars. Before he knew it, he was in the back of the cop car and being driven home by the cops who wanted to talk to his parents. Never mind that my son wasn’t at my house fulltime, my son by then knew to say very little, he stated his name and the fact he was 16. Well the local cop pulled up in our driveway but not before implying that he was dubious that my son really lived where he said he did.

As fate would have it, I was out at a meeting so the Spousal Unit opened the door and quickly proceeded to ask the cop what the hell was he doing and also explaining he did not appreciate him harassing our son. In the end the cop apologized but not before the hubster expressed that he was dubious of the cop which resulted in the cop telling the hubster that he was friends with people of all races.

By the time I got home and the story was shared with me, I was ready to go to the police station to tear a new asshole in the captain and everyone else. My son asked me to let it go, but as a mother that situation disturbed me. What if this wasn’t a smaller town and the cop was trigger happy? I would have come home to a dead 16 year old son. Of course as the years have gone on, my son has had many more run ins with police both in New England and the Midwest. Never any charges but always the you look suspicious charge. Once driving back to his Dad’s from college he was stopped two times on the same drive. Sad to say if you think what my son faces is an isolated incident you couldn’t be more mistaken.

Fast forward to Trayvon Martin, a teenager in Florida visiting his Dad who decided to go to the convenience store and sadly never made it home. It seems after picking up some Skittles for a sibling and an iced tea, Trayvon crossed paths with the neighborhood watch leader that felt a teenage boy armed with skittles and an iced tea was so dangerous he had to pull out his 9mm gun and George Zimmerman the watch leader shot him dead. Zimmerman claims that he and Trayvon got into a scuffle and that he feared for his safety so much so that he had to shoot a child.

Let me say that having been the mother of a teenage boy that while on the surface they may look big, the fact is one good look at their faces generally reveals the child they really are and why in 2012 couldn’t Zimmerman pick up the phone and call 911?

Trayvon’s story is starting to get out but let me ask where’s the outrage? What happened to Trayvon is not that unique other than the fact normally it’s the police that harm young men of color, in this case we have an overzealous community member who decided to take the law into his own hands. Frankly when I heard what happened to Trayvon my blood ran cold because I could easily see Trayvon as my own boy. Just a boy going out and doing what kids do.

Last week the world was on fire about Joseph Kony with the whole Kony2012 campaign and while what happened to the children in Uganda is an outrage and Kony needs to be caught what about the kids in our own country? Every day brown and black boys in this country are under assault, from cops that would gladly lock our boys up to teachers who deny their humanity and slap an ill-fitting label on them.

I say we need Trayvon2012, stop the brutality against brown and black boys in this country and stop it now. Look in the mirror and face our own internal biases that allow us to look at the brown and black boys close to us as monsters and realize that it is systematic racism that allows this to happen.

So let me add Trayvon2012 to Kony2012 to bring awareness to the plight of boys of color in this country.

PS: The suspect the cops were looking when they stopped my son turned out to be a good 6 inches shorter and several shades lighter.