Yesterday I sat down with my daughter and asked her what was wrong. She is ten years old, a wondrous soul and beauty. She and her sister are the lights of my life. But last night she was quiet at dinner, and I knew that something wasn’t right in her world. Expressing her feelings doesn’t come easily to her. I often have to wait and push and wait and push until she finally tells me what is going on inside.

The day before she had been to the Museum of the City of New York. One of the exhibits was about Black Lives Matter. She saw a photo of a little girl with a sign that said, I Hope I Don’t Get Killed For Being Black Today.

According to my daughter, there was also a list of Black people that had been killed by the police.

My daughter is Black. Last night when she finally opened up, and tears started to roll down her face, she told me she was worried about being shot. She is ten years old. My heart broke, and I knew that the day that I knew was coming, and that I have feared, had arrived.

She had discovered what it meant to be Black in America.

As I held her, I told her that she was safe and that we had moved to where we live now so that she and her sister would remain safe. I pointed out how President and Michelle Obama had thrived, as did their daughters, and even though bad things can happen that we would make sure they didn’t happen to her or her sister. I made a promise that she would be safe. At ten, I wasn’t willing to do anything less.

Time and experience will educate her and as she grows we will make sure that she knows how to behave when approached by a cop. We will give her the social tools and self-confidence to respond to the ugly of the world.

Last night I just held her.

-Jan Harrison

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Shameful that this little girl has to live with that fear. Shameful that she has to be educated by her parents about “approaching a law enforcement officer” who is supposed to protect all races. Shameful, shame, shame on America for standing by without doing anything to help the situation. What will it take for people to understand that God made all of us in his own image. So, I ask this question: We know that God made all us in his image…..how do we know that God isn’t black?
    Transgenders are being called out as different too…..how do we know that God isn”t transgender? Why do we assume that God is the same as the “perfect white body” rather than brown, yellow or black? Why do we assume that God has a perfect body with no transgender mix? Ask that question about everything that our country seems to have a problem with accepting….and remember this…”There, but for the grace of God, go thee.”

  2. This breaks my heart too. We want our children to be safe above all, loved, happy. We endeavor to keep them safe and yet, this. America has gone bankrupt of care and fairness, of our commonly held beliefs in each other and about each other, that we are all equal. We are apparently not, never have been and the blinders are coming off of those who believed we were and the restraints are coming off those who would perpetrate the harm. We have so much that has gone wrong with this presidency and we will experience it well beyond this presidency. The longer he stays in power, the more dangerous and life threatening it will be come. Where is the goodness? Where is the safety? I don’t know, but I am not going to lay down and die of fear. I am going to fight. That is what we have to do, teach resilience and how to fight. We can not lose sight of our goals, it is the essence of our existence.

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