Day After

I know about as much of what to do right now as you do.

We all know that this case, and this verdict, is a deeply private tragedy for the Davis family. A deeply private tragedy for the other boys who “survived” in terms of mortality, but certainly have lost in countless ways.

We also all know that this is one case and one verdict in an endless sea of atrocity.

I recall shortly after the Newtown shooting, commentator Ben Stein had a segment on CBS Sunday Morning where he challenged the national outrage and pressure to tighten gun regulations. He pointed to some set of statistics that said that our large cities have the strictest gun laws and yet the greatest gun violence rates, and therefore people like him out in the mountains shouldn’t have to face the same regulations.

What struck me then and strikes me again now, is not that he was against gun control–I disagree with him, but I was not surprised–instead, it was the feeling that “those people” in “that city over there” are unrelated to “me.”

What I do know is this:

Every act of racism is our act of racism. Every child lost is our child lost. Every family is our family. Every city is our city. Every law is our law.

I also know:

You can’t fix it all. I think that’s where we feel defeated. That’s where we go only so far and then stop.

I also know:

What you can do is a little. That little bit that you do is more than what was done before.

One example of that is the #DangerousBlackKids hashtag that is circulating on twitter today. Through a stroke of genius and inspiration, the tag is people posting photos of black children doing everyday kid stuff. It makes you laugh, cry, and get angry. It hit me. So, I wrote this. That one small act, that’s turned into a twitter trend, is pushing me to not talk about defeat. It is pushing me to talk about the promise our children hold and the promise we as adults must hold for them.

I know this:

While you can’t do it all, you can do some.

You can continue to teach all children, and right now especially our African American boys, that they matter.

You can tutor.

You can mentor.

You can write.

You can talk.

You can reflect.

You can speak up at that innocuous comment you overhear someone say.

You can tell your story, your friend’s stories, your student’s stories, your children’s stories.

You can use the pronoun “our.”

Every bit you do is more than was done yesterday. Use your power.

3 thoughts on “Day After

  1. Thank you Chris for your wisdom. When will we all realize that we are all connected and what affects one person, affects us all. Violence is not contained in one area, it is systemic in the world. We cannot ignore the atrocities in any neighborhood, city, state, or country.

    Barbara Newkirk Magnet Coordinator The Magnet School for Civics in the Community I.S. 230 73-10 34th Avenue Jackson Heights, NY 11372 718-335-7648 X4152


  2. This really hit me where I live. On Friday I was at a triple funeral; a mother, her son and her daughter. One of our school families, murdered by the father. The youngest teenage son escapes with his five year old nephew. I’ve lost sleep every night since, wondering what will happen to this motherless child. He’s 14 and everything he knew is gone. I have noticed that people say they will be there for this African American young man, but I still feel that they won’t go past a certain point for him. I know exactly what you write about here. If we really want to help OUR kids we have to be ready and willing to do it at any time, not just between 8:00-3:00. Thank you for your post.


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