Tuesday morning at 6:40 AM my son arrived downstairs; and in between rubbing the peace of a night’s sleep from his ten-year-old eyes and setting the table, he asked me this question, asked me about Ferguson and what had happened overnight.
I have had to explain any parent’s share of thorny topics to him already in his first decade on the planet, but this was a question seemingly impossible to answer—not just for him, but, really, at all.
Where do I begin? Where do any of us begin?
We are so broken, the answers as convoluted and tangled as they are elusive.
All we know for sure is a young boy, a young unarmed boy, is dead.
And no response beginning with the word “but” matters.
But he did this. But he did that.
It couldn’t matter less.
A boy is dead.
A boy who no matter how many unfortunate photos surface was still just a boy.
No matter how many unfortunate things he did was still just a boy.
A boy filled with unrealized potential.
A boy our world should be bolstering, not knocking down.
I think of all of my most unfortunate transgressions and am grateful images of those moments are not plastered on the internet for the world to see and to judge. I think of all the unfortunate things I have done and am grateful that in the midst of my most difficult hours, I was not shot and killed. I think of who I was then and who I am now, that there were people who saw my worth and lifted me up. I am grateful my existence was never marginalized, my voice never silenced.
Michael Brown belongs–belonged–not just to his parents or his community but to all of us.
He was your son and mine–to believe in, to protect.
Why is the world broken?
Because we have forgotten that he was ours.
And we need to remember.