November 25, 2014
Reflections of a GABRIELA member, from one mother to another, in response to the Grand Jury decision of no indictment to charge police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed 18-year old Mike Brown.
By: Melissa Reyes, GABRIELA San Francisco
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses…
- Excerpt from “Power” by Audre Lorde
Like the rest of this country, I heard the grand jury’s decision last night. The non-indictment of Darren Wilson. This verdict spoke volumes and for communities everywhere, it reminded us that another young black man’s life has no value in this country. And like so many, I was not surprised. And like so many, a flood of grief still engulfed me. As I stared blankly at the television, my 5-year-old daughter’s curious voice interrupted the silence and my own numbness. Sol asked, “Mama, what happened? Why are you crying?”
I opened my mouth but could not form the words. How do I explain to my 5-year-old daughter that black boys are targeted and killed in this country for being black? How do I explain histories of fascism, racism, imperialism? Instead, I told her that another mother’s son was killed. Her son’s name was Mike Brown. That Darren Wilson, the person who killed him, did not have to apologize, or go on time out, or face the consequences of his actions.
But when I reflected more on what I had told her, it made me dizzy trying to fathom the loss of my own child. From one mother to another, I know that a mother’s anger, grief, and rage is justified. I may not know her pain intimately or even begin to imagine it, but I am in solidarity with her today. I will hold her hand from where I stand in San Francisco, California to demand justice for her son, Michael Brown. And I will hold the hands of countless mothers who also demand justice for their sons murdered in this country, murdered by a government that plays a hand in violence around the world, from Mexico to Palestine to the Philippines to Ferguson, Missouri. A government that has terrorized black communities since its inception.
For a split second, I wanted to apologize to my daughter for bringing her into a messed up, crazy world. More specifically, I wanted to apologize for bringing her into a world where white supremacy still breathes, multiplies, destroys. But a mother’s anger, grief, and rage is always justified and we topple violent state repression and the loss of our children with action. Ms. McSpaddon, I am holding your hand and tonight in the streets, I will chant, scream, cry justice, and continue to organize for your son.