My son’s friend was murdered last night.

All weekend long I thought about the death of Trayvon Martin. I thought about the trial and acquittal of his killer as well, but I thought mostly about Trayvon and his family. I thought about his supporters and the state of affairs in this country for young black males. I read blogs and articles written from many different perspectives. I followed the various protests and marches going on around the country on my Facebook wall, and on the news, and I contemplated my own sadness and what meaning all of this holds for me.

I am the mother of two boys ages 20 and 13, and a daughter 17. As a white woman with white kids, I ask myself what part I play in this injustice, in the grieving, in being a part of the solution, and in the evolution to a better society. On the one hand I know full well the role I play. I’m the mom of kids with friends with all colors of skin, from all backgrounds and ethnicities, I’m a lover of kids and a lover of people. Why should I set myself apart because I am white? Why should I not experience this grief both communally and personally, and why should I not, in my own way, protest the kind of injustice perpetrated against Trayvon Martin? On the other hand, I know it is my job to be quiet and listen to the voices of those who know first hand what it’s like to be black in America, to be the mother or father of a black son, to be a young black man, and to experience the very real truth of the associated dangers and perils faced every day by young, black American men.

I don’t want to appropriate another’s grief and I don’t want to pretend to know what it feels like to face that unique danger, but all things considered, I know where I stand. I am a mother, and I grieve with the mother of Trayvon, and with the countless other mothers who have lost their young black men in one way or another, to violence, to incarceration, to a white audience that doesn’t care to understand deeply. I am a mother who wants a safer, kinder, more equitable world for ALL people.

I bear the grief of the loss of Trayvon and others because I care deeply, and because I recognize and deplore injustice. That is the bottom line.

So I felt a dreadful sense of precognition today when I called my oldest boy to hear him sobbing hysterically on the other end of the phone. He told me had just been notified of the death of his “brother”, his “right hand man”, his good friend. This young man was shot and killed late last night while sitting in a car with another young man in Seattle, outside of a convenience store, waiting for a friend who had gone into the store. The details at this time are unknown, but what I know now is that my son and his community of friends are grieving the senseless, violent death of another young black American male, one of their own, one of our own. And I am shown clearly that I am not separate from any of it.

14 thoughts on “My son’s friend was murdered last night.

  1. What terrible, terrible news. I was feeling joyful today at the birth of the royal baby and now feel devastated by the unnecessary death of another kid. Child, really. Hope Theo is ok. Big hugs!

  2. As I was reading that I was thinking, yes… yes…I can completely relate to what you are saying. Until the last paragraph. What a shock. I am so sorry for your son, and for his friend’s family. So very sad.

  3. So sad to read this Chris. I hope Theo can find some comfort somewhere to make sense of that, which right now, seems so senseless….

  4. About Treyvon, I am much more saddened that the death rate for Black on Black violent crime goes unnoticed in the event of a White on Black violent crime. How is this explained? Is it a crime to defend one’s self if the aggressor is Black. Is a white aggressor so much of a rarity that he must standout as a monster, a certain criminal, a racist? Some statistic I read a few year ago said Black males in cities had an average life expectancy of 35 years. This is not due to gangs of Whites hunting them down, or neo-nazi skinheads doing drive by killings, this is due to Black gang mentalities. The Blacks generally don’t kill Whites. Am I generalizing? It seems not. What a sad world this is.

    Again, this is no place for a gentleman or lady.

    Escape to a world of mutual respect where souls have an eternal youthful form, in all shades of green, red, blue, yellow, white, black, silver grey, gold, pink, chartreuse, and everyone is delighted with themselves, their color, and everyone else’s color. Why because they know Krishna values each and every one of them. It is the bodily mentality we must correct. You are not your body, you are a soul, your real life begins when this is understood and you cultivate spirit. Your true colors can them be known and appreciated.

    Thanks, all the best, Chant Hare Krishna,

  5. This is such a wonderful, moving, thoughtful and deeply-considered post. I have been wrestling with so many of the same thoughts — as a mother, I simply cannot imagine the difficulty and terror of trying to raise a young black man in this country. So much violence, inside black neighborhoods and certainly outside, too. So much prejudice, so much profiling, so much racism we still have to overcome. I am so sorry for the loss of your son’s friend…. and I am so sorry for the loss of Trayvon. We have got to do better as a society. We have GOT to do better!

  6. >As a white woman with white kids, I ask myself what part I play in this injustice, in the grieving, in being a part of the solution, and in the evolution to a better society.
    – This right here, THIS is why I enjoy your blog, Chris.

    Your posts are so much more than ‘This is where I went’ and ‘This is what I did’. My blog leans toward this formula. These have their charm, I know, but I love it when I come across the more insightful ones like yours, especially if they/you are regular folk like me.

    Blogs like yours nudge me to not merely be a passive reader, but a thinker as well.

    To lose someone close to us is excruciating. For them to be victim to senseless violence twists that knife in the gut.

    Prayers for your son’s friend’s family, for your boy, and for you, too, Chris. I know you’re hurting over your son’s pain.


    P.S.: Another reason I love your posts? Words that are completely new to me or that I rarely read. Case in point: precognition. Completely new to me! And so easy to use, too!

  7. It seems some of us are thinking deeply about this subject. As the wife of a Black man in America, I cannot watch him leave the house without a piece of my heart seizing. With fear creeping up my spine.

    I am so sorry for your son, none of us should learn this lesson so closely. I am sorry for his friend and his family, another hopeful flame extinguished to soon.

    Thank you for this, we are all trying to find a way free.

  8. Chris, your posts always touch a chord for me… in part because our sons are the same age, and similar kids, but mostly because you state things in such a poetic, yet straightforward and compelling way. I have thought of Trayvon Martin and what my part in all of this is, every day. Not because it’s about me, but because it’s hard to look in the mirror and know that so many black mothers are grieving, in a world that treats their sons and mine so differently. This post is that much more shocking that it has come to your home… So very sorry for you son’s loss, your loss… our loss. Tragic, upon tragic. Thanks for sharing.

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