Every Morning at 6 a.m.

by Celeste C. Smith, CEO 1Hood Media

Every morning at 6:00 a.m. give or take 30 minutes, I am awakened by the sound of our 4 year old charging into our room. He doesn’t care much for formality, his thoughts are strictly based upon his wants. Every morning at 6:00 a.m. he burst into our room, unaware of the possible situations and nuances of those in love, to begin his morning with his mommy. Every morning at 6:00 a.m., I make his tea and take my blood pressure medication with my cup of coffee…not exactly sure if this is wise or not, but this is what I do. He and I do ABC Mouse.com, so he can be a super prodigy upon his arrival to kindergarten next year, crushing other children under his massive intellect…or at least spell his name right. He always tries to play one of the games instead of doing the learning activities. And because he grins at me with his beautiful little face that looks exactly like the man I fell in love with 16 years ago, I sometimes let him. This is our morning ritual and one of my favorite parts of each day. It is our routine. It is our time together. It is not promised.

With the same frequency of my special time with my son, each morning when I open my laptop, I witness the murder of another Black or Brown person. EVERY SINGLE DAY, I witness the death of someone’s child. Today it was the murder of Paul O’Neal by Chicago police. The other day it is was Korryn Gaines. Skye Mockabee. Joyce Quaweay. The list goes on and on and on and on…and it is to much.

As I live, feel and breath in the sorrow of so many Black and Brown women, I think about the reality and depth of impact upon each of these families. The everyday routines we, the still physically alive, are able to share with our sons, daughters, and partners are no longer a given. Rote activities with loved ones, like what I adore with my son, are now enjoyed at a premium in this world where Black and Brown families are quite literally targets.

I once heard Ron Davis, the father of Jordan Davis who was murdered by White supremacy for listening to his music to loudly for Michael Dunn, his murderer’s, taste; speak about moments of silence. He spoke about the everyday things he can no longer do with his son. He spoke about no longer being able to enjoy the mundane things we all take for granted. How watching certain sports and television shows bring excruciating pain because his son is no longer present to watch them with him. He spoke about the pain he experiences “at night, especially at night” when the cameras, the people, and comforters have all gone away.

As he spoke, I looked around the room at Geneva Reed Veal (Sandra Bland’s mother), Wanda Johnson (Oscar Grant’s mother), and Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mother), each mother nodding in agreement with Mr. Davis’ solemn words. Agony etched across the countenance of each reluctant celebrity, part of a club we’ve no desire to join.

We exist in a world where traffic tickets become assassination contracts and children we just kissed become either dead or orphans. We drive cars that become our coffins and walk down streets that are our gallows. This is the reality of the Black and Brown in America. Every. Single. Moment. Counts. Every. Single. Word. Counts. Every touch. Every glance. Every kiss. Every hug. Every meal. Every orgasm. Every breath counts. Love each other fiercely, completely and honestly. Share the stories of our past, present, and how we now fight for our future.

I write these words, tired, a mother of three Black babies and a wife of a Black man, an activist, who diligently works towards our collective freedom, justice, and equality. I write these words cognizant that today might be the last day I see any of them. I write these words as a reminder for the families who bear the greatest burden of our generation. I ask us to remember that once they were just like us, living life with their loved ones, unaware that the next moment they would become a hash tag. When we see the families of our fallen, please give them your love; light, empathy and prayers and if you must take a picture; let it be to honor their strength, not to act as though you have walked beside them in their pain. I write to remind us to fight now, in whatever way. I write to ask us to donate to the defense funds, because the families need our help. We must become a collective force against this, our genocide. Passionately. Regularly. I write to prompt us to fight now against oppression, not only when it becomes real to us…coming out of our computer screens into our own living rooms.