Do you know what the beauty of being a runner is? That runners come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities and colors.
Yes. Colors. People of all skin tones like to run. I am of the caramel macchiato skin tone. That is what I call it.
It is a privilege to run but not because of skin color but because how wonderful it is to have the use of your legs and enjoy the benefits of running. But as we have learned recently, running is not a privilege to be enjoyed by everyone in America.
Do you know what my biggest concerns are when I go out for a run?
They range from will I step on a sidewalk crack and twist my ankle to will I step on dog poop that an inconsiderate pet owner left on the sidewalk.
My concerns are not usually will I get shot by a shotgun wielding white man.
I am also a mother. A Hispanic mother. Not quite white, not quite black.
A mother to three young and vivacious sons that are turning into young men. We start having conversations with our young men about hygiene, careers, feelings, girls…all the usual young men things. My fellow mothers of color have to add an additional layer to their conversations and it probably goes along the lines of how to not get shot in America.
It might go something like, “MOM…I’m going out for a run”.
“SON, that sweatshirt is too dark and please don’t wear your hoodie. Now, don’t run too slow because you’ll look suspicious of something, anything. It might make the neighbors uncomfortable, but don’t run too fast because then you’ll really look suspicious. Maybe just don’t go for a run”.
Or the store.
Or drive the car.
Or stand up for yourself.
Don’t do any of it because you might make people that do not look like you feel threatened or uncomfortable.
What is happening? How are these blatant acts of racism still happening in 2020? The truth is ,it has never really stopped happening. We just have phones now to record it as it happens.
How is it that a young, black man cannot just live? A young black man can enlist in the armed forces, die in combat for your freedom and mine, but he cannot go out for a run without the fear of possibly not coming home.
I am a runner. I am a mother. And I am a teacher. I teach in a school where the majority of my students are black. I teach young, teenage black and brown boys. I see their hopes and dreams. Aspirations of becoming doctors, engineers, musicians and just good humans. These tragedies have to stop now.
Because those are my boys too. I am rooting for them. I give them guidance and tough love just like I do to my own three children.
In this era where it seems we cannot agree on absolutely anything, can we please agree on one thing? We are all human beings.
Cut us open and you will find the same red blood regardless of skin color or ethnicity. The same heart located in the cavity of your chest. The same brain inside of your head. Not one race is more worthy than the other. We are ALL worthy in the eyes of our creator.
You don’t get a “I get to shoot you” card because of the color of your skin and you don’t get a pass for shooting based on the color of your skin. It seemed that was about to happen but as I wrote this, news broke that the father/son duo seen in the video murdering the runner have been arrested in Georgia.
It has been a few months since Ahmaud was killed on that Sunday afternoon and just now we are hearing of this story and seeing the tragic images. It almost seemed like we maybe weren’t supposed to see them but the truth eventually comes to light. I trust and hope that our justice system will be fair and not biased.
And yes, I know we’ve had Covid-19 wreaking havoc on our world but this is not an isolated incident. This is becoming the norm for my black brothers and sisters and it is NOT normal.
How many more black mothers will have to bury their sons due to them being killed while doing the everyday things the rest of us take for granted? Enough is enough.
We are one race. The human race. Celebrate our diversity and unite in our humanity.
We ALL deserve to be here and enjoy a run.