i remember putting my daughter on belay, holding her by the straps of her overalls to keep her safe from harm while hiking mountain trails. when she had attained the wise old age of thirteen, the nights awake worrying when she didn’t come home made it hard to breathe. blood pressure rising, i would call her in as a missing person, and never know until her return, sometimes days later, whether this was only another episode of teen rebellion, or someone had finally grabbed her off the street. even now that she’s nineteen, my worry is constant and real. have i done enough to enable her to keep herself safe out there in the world without me?
while these worries and questions are real, the fact of my daughter’s mixed blood has always been outweighed, when it comes to her safety, by her outward appearance ::: pale skinned. the world knows that women, and especially young women, are not safe on the streets. while we are in that higher risk bracket that is ‘female,’ we both have benefitted from that twisted social protection that is pale skin color.
how then, do i digest the worry of my friends about the safety of their sons? how can we process our awakening to this reality that young black men, boys, really, are not safe walking the streets? this is not due to their own actions, nor because of what people acknowledge as the ‘criminal element’ in any neighborhood, but because of the underlying racism that allows people in power to murder and to protect murderers of sons of color. when police shoot to kill based on saggy pants or the wearing of a hoodie, when police and district attorneys refuse to arrest and prosecute those who commit hate crimes, how can we keep these beautiful sons safe?
on wednesday, people from oakland and san francisco converged in bradley manning plaza in san francisco to mourn the loss of yet another young black son, trayvon martin. this young man was convicted and had a death sentence carried out against him for the crime of walking while black. mothers and fathers of other sons murdered by this system of racist violence, who’ve had to face the reality of no justice, came to honor trayvon, and speak up against what appears to be hunting season on young black men. while the reason for gathering was grief and sorrow, there was an underlying hint of hope at the very fact of our willingness to stand together and rage against this machine that is tearing apart the fabric of humanity. here we present a collage of photographs and video from that gathering. the pictures speak of pain and sorrow, but also of the power we have in our compassion and our numbers.
this page will be updated with new media as it becomes available to us, in our efforts to portray the emotion and commitment of the good people of oakland and san francisco in response to these inequities.