I see Trayvon daily.
He is the teen asking for help finding the summer reading books mandated by his schools.
He is the teen showing me how to play Super Smash Brothers Brawl during Game Days at the library.
He is the teen sheepishly grinning when I fuss at him for acting up.
He is my nephew, he is someone’s son.
He may not look like the typical library patron with his sagging pants, hoodies in the winter, loud talk. There are moments when I eye him with suspicion…what are you doing with that book? Where did you put that Spiderman comic? But he is someone’s son, someone’s nephew and he deserves the benefit of being treated with the respect I give everyone else.
The text alert that shared the news that George Zimmerman was not guilty left me cold. And angry and hurt. I do my best to be a part of this country. To be a good citizen. And for what? My value as a woman, as a Black woman is valued in how well I toe the line and not make waves.
I want to be angry.
I want to hurt something.
I want to act out but I know the best way to act out, be angry, hurt something, is to do something.
I used to giggle at my sister’s involvement in community, her police academy enrollment and her political ambitions. I thought it was enough to vote and work but it’s not. I get involved…but. I do things in my community…but. These Trayvons need more than my half-assed commitment and I need more than angry tweets.
I see Trayvon daily and it’s up to me to do my part in making sure he knows that he is a vital part of this community. That he is valued. That he is important enough to stand up for and worth every effort that can be made.