My boy, who was born during the Ferguson riots and whose third birthday was darkened by Charlottesville, just turned five. The age when he goes to kindergarten by himself. When he is introduced to other students and their opinions without my being there to protect him.
With every nap, his limbs extend. My little Black boy, with his little brown fingers and little brown toes, will grow up to be a Black man; and that terrifies me. I hold him extra tight and whisper that I love him. But how long can I shelter him in my arms? How long before the confidence and creativity that I’ve fought to instill in him is seen as threat by someone else’s prejudice? How do I keep him from being another hashtag, heartbeat slowed from the 165 that announced his life in my womb to nothing, his killer never brought to justice?
From the time that I was a little girl, growing up in Kilmichael, MS, I was aware of the vulnerability that my own Blackness brought. From tales of local lynchings to Klansmen following my school bus, I was not allowed to forget.
With this documentary, I’ve gone back to my hometown to face my fears. To face a lynching. To face intimidation. To look my own fear in its face and let it know that it does not define me. Or my son. It is on my word of honor, to continue to instill in him confidence and creativity, despite every effort to dehumanize him. To make sure he knows that he matters.