Like most of the country, I didn't know Trayvon Martin. Yet, my heart knows him.
Trayvon is the many young men I've worked with, both at school and at church. Little boys who dared me to take off my shoes and race them in the summertime; little boys who quickly understood that yes, Ms. Kayla or no, Ms. Kayla were the only acceptable responses to my queries. Little boys who are now becoming young men, gangly limbs and squeaky voices a sign of their impending adulthood. They still hug me, still send me Facebook messages and ask me to pray with them. Whether they ask or not, I always do.
Trayvon is any one of my guy friends--upstanding, compassionate, educated men who still have to explain that wearing basketball shorts, hoodies or locs does not make you a criminal.
Trayvon is my son--the one I ask God even now to give me the strength to raise. A good friend of mine said she wept when she found out she was having a son, for she knew that raising a Black man in this world would be no easy task. I agree. My heart grows weary as I think of his predisposition to unfairness and discrimination. I'll grasp his little hand in mine and tell him that he is so much more than a statistic, hoping and praying that someone doesn't take his life just because he "fits the profile."
That's why tears fill my eyes as I listen to the 911 calls and hear a child pleading for his life. Trayvon is so many of the men I have known and loved.
So, I'll keep talking about this. I will sign every petition. I will protest. I will pray for every one of my nephews, my "babies" and even those with whom I have no connection, because I want them to live. I want them to experience life--blazing trails, learning from their mistakes and conquering their fears along the way.
I never want to feel this way again.
Justice for Trayvon.