Not Another Hashtag: #ProtectingOurBabiesin2016

#BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #JusticeForSandra… The list goes on. And the violence goes on. The uneasiness of a mother when her son innocently walks out from her protective eye continues to go on. The 21st century has spurned into a hotbed of police brutality and black-on-black crime in the media like never before. The deaths seem insurmountable, and the funeral homes are in overflow with our young black men, it seems.

But what are we doing to change this? We’re quick to start a campaign or a movement against the violence – which is good. But how effective are those movements? What are we doing to turn those movements into results for our communities? There have been many critics, especially in the Black community, that say it’s not enough to rally when police murder black men and women so effortlessly and unconsciously. There must more to be done.

So, what more can be done? As a mom of a black son, although he is only six, I found myself sitting him down to educate him on how to not aggravate a hostile situation when confronted with police. Did I say he’s only six years old? I pray over him constantly because even in his innocence, he is more than a hashtag. He is a human being with rights and privileges, and even more, he is my son.

The movements should serve as not only awareness, but a blueprint for action. Educating our sons is the beginning of change. Igniting and stirring the fire of anger and unrest doesn’t do anything to improve the relationships between black people and police or black people with each other. Our sons need to be educated. They need to know their value as humans and black men. They need affirmation, and have goals. Speak positively into your sons, and provide them with a work ethic, so that they can see themselves with a future that they’re willing to fight for.

Empowerment is lacking in the Black community. As they’re dying innocently – and not so innocently – in the streets, and their blood is crying out, we have to do more than just instigate a media movement. We need to educate them on their rights, and on common sense. Our sons should learn survival skills that go past slanging and stealing just to eat. The Black community has become relaxed with violence against our Black boys and men. We get angry, hashtag them, and then we move on to the next one. The hope and change has left our communities. We as the more seasoned generations, need to get back to the African “it takes a village” mentality. It is our responsibility to protect and care for our own. We must get back to that principle. It doesn’t mean we are prejudice or racist, but we have to be the ones to put an end to the annihilation of our men.

To protect our sons as a community, our lawyers, lawmakers, and other government officials are our leverage. It’s past time we change the system of things. We have to be game changers, and it begins with us empowering, educating and protecting our children. Our sons are worth it for us to get more involved, because they’re more than just a hashtag.

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