It is Mother’s Day as I write this. Earlier this morning, one of my sons took Scout out for a walk. There was no concern on my part of whether he would come home. That same son goes out running for about 30-45 minutes most every day. I don’t worry about whether he will be safe on his run. I wonder about Ahmaud Arbery’s mother on February 23. Did she know that he had gone out for a run that day? If she did, I am sure that her worry was greater than mine ever has been. Did she expect him to be killed that day by two white men? How many times did she have “the talk” with her son? Not the talk about sex, but the talk about the very real dangers that black males face every day? Had she had it with him recently even though he was 25 years old?
A few mornings ago, I went to the riverfront park in Cincinnati to walk the prayer labyrinth there. After walking it, I saw this sculpture that I had not seen before. It was crafted by Carolyn Manto and reflects a mother and son waiting for the return of loved ones. It is part of a memorial to African-American volunteers who barricaded Cincinnati to protect the city during the Civil War. I looked at this sculpture of this mother and her young son and was just transfixed and I lamented for Ahmaud and for his mother Wanda Cooper and for so many others. Did she sit with Ahmaud like that at some point where he pointed out something asking what it might be? Did they play “I spy”? Could they have looked like this as they had “the talk.”?
On this mother’s day, I do give thanks for my amazing wife and my amazing mother and my amazing mother-in-law and I am so grateful that they have never had to worry or grieve as Wanda Cooper is doing this day. But even as I am grateful, I grieve and I lament and I mourn and I commit to using the privilege that I have as a white male to fight for Ahmaud and Wanda and so many others.
Cry out, Black women: you who nurtured this nation with the stolen milk of your breasts and labor of your hands only to have it continue to demonize your children.Alicia T Crosby – Illegitimate Kings – from Words of Her Mouth
Lord have mercy.