A Letter to My Sons: Trayvon Died for You

My dear three princes,

I have prayed for you since I’ve known about you.  From the very moment I became aware of the gravity and blessing of motherhood, my prayers lengthened, my spirituality strengthened.

Your Aunt Pam called to congratulate me with each of your arrivals, telling me how blessed I was to have the privilege of raising sons, black baby boys who I had been gifted to guide into adulthood. Your great Aunt Wilhemenia told me never to make a promise with you that I couldn’t keep. And your Nana–my momma– told me never to give up on you no matter how challenged I may feel as a mother.

Now, 22, 20, and 12 years after your wondrous births, I keep these sentiments close to my heart.

But in my heart resides the prayer that petitions specifically for your safety, your eventual realization that happiness comes from within your soul, your ability to face the trials and tribulations of life with grace, and your deep, abiding faith and belief in the power of prayer. So when I woke up with Trayvon Martin on my mind, my own spirit grieved by his senseless and torturous death at the hands of a bigot who failed to recognize the divinity of humanity, I felt compelled to write you this love letter.

Trayvon is this generation’s Emmett Till, the young southern teenager who lost his life when he was accused of whistling at a young White woman.  His body was found, disfigured from being tortured before and perhaps after he took his last breath. He was thrown away as if he were a rumpled piece of trash that had blown into the path of a transfer truck, then kicked around only to land somewhere in no man’s land far away from home. His mother insisted on an open casket to bring attention to the inhumanity of man (oxymoron perhaps?), while we prayed and insisted that this should never happen again.  This was in 1955, and it definitely wasn’t the first– you are aware of the history of your forebears– or the last incident of its type. Trayvon, 17 years old, was murdered under the same circumstances:  someone took his life merely because his arrogance told him he could. This was on February 26, 2012.

That’s why I hesitate when you ask to walk to the store, or when you asked to go out with friends at night. I knew — and still know– that as Black males you are at risk. At risk of being accused of something you haven’t even considered doing, at risk of merely minding your own business in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are precious and there are few who acknowledge and respect that. That’s why when you question my “over-protectiveness” I simply tell you that ‘people can be so mean.’

It grieves my spirit to be reminded constantly of this truth, and it didn’t occur to me that you would literally experience its illustration.

So take heed sons.  It is humbling to always remember who some think you are, but WHOSE you are trumps the secular humanist perspective any day. Trayvon not only died for you, but he lives on in you. You will be a constant reminder of the fact that no matter how menacing and malicious or covert and passive the effort, you will never go away. Your presence and its effect on this earth will never be diminished.

Take the baton my princes, and press toward the mark.

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About crystalswords

In progress.
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11 Responses to A Letter to My Sons: Trayvon Died for You

  1. Crystal,
    This is such a powerful “LOVE LETTER”! I celebrate your love for your princes!

  2. Letetia Kimpson says:

    Crystal, this was wonderful. I am grieving for this family and their loss as well. I immediately thought about Whit and what I need to tell him as he grows up and it frankly pisses me off that i still have to remind of the rules of “living in the US as a blavk male”. I am fearful for the boys and all our boys. Love you for this and your love for the boys.

  3. Beth says:

    Crystal, this is so beautifully written and speaks volumes. Having a 3 year old son, I think about the conversations that we’ll have to have with him one day. Our little black boys are so precious to us. However, to ignorant bigots who still exist in the 21st century, they will be percieved as threats.
    This tragedy makes me cherish his innocence even more until the time comes for me and Mike to have the “crucial conversations” with him.

  4. Shawana Suitt says:

    Crystal,this was an awesome read.Thanks you for sharing.

  5. David Lasater says:

    Crystal, Very nicely done and such a senseless crime. The love you show your sons in this letter is something I know they will always treasure.

  6. Dr. Lee says:

    Wow. I am drying my eyes. Your words tell the truth. We have to continue to pray that God watches over our children. Thanks for putting the feelings of many mothers into words.

  7. Christina Lassiter says:

    Crystal,
    I really enjoyed reading that love letter to your sons. If there is ever a time that we as mothers need to stick together it is a time such as this. The nation has really pull together for this family, and it is not about race, it is about the principle of the matter. If had on the other foot, we know what would have happen, and where the individual would be today, instead of facing his/her wrong doing. Keep praying for your three black baby boys as I hope all mothers are doing for their teenage and young adult sons.

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