Black Boy, Killjoy: A mother’s take on the Jordan Edwards tragedy

Jamila Thomas, a Dallas-based educator, responds to the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards Saturday by a suburban cop who has since changed his story on what happened that night. She is a Dallas Public Voices Fellow.

By Jamila Thomas

I’m a momma. I’m mommy. I’m a guardian over a black boy. I’m a safety net. I’m a superhero to a 6-year-old boy who can’t believe “Mommy you use to go to school, too?” I’m a protector. I’m healer of wounds on the scuffed up knees of a black boy. I’m a dream weaver. I’m a teacher to my black boy. I’m a solution seeker and maker for black and brown boys in Dallas.

Jordan Edwards/Courtesy of Mesquite Independent School District

I’m a mother of a black boy who looks like Trayvon Martin, and ALL the others — yes we say their names as much as possible and now Jordan Edwards.

DAMN! I feel you Nina Simone.

Mississippi Goddamn

Florida Goddamn

Texas Goddamn

California Goddamn

New York Goddamn

Alabama Goddamn

I’m a mommy who is also traumatized. This level of trauma has transcended familial ties and become more associated with a commonality of internal and external cultural degradation.

I need healing and restoration. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m heartbroken and sometimes worried. I’m getting numb. No! I can’t. I don’t have that option. I’m split in my emotions. I’m angry but not too angry for the sake of saving face for my little black boy.

My black boy is still breathing. There are other black boys still living. There are black boys incarcerated. There are black boys who are caught up in a color line front line drafted and didn’t even enlist.

Lies have been told for years. Coverups have been hidden in shades of blue in order to keep the house of lies sealed.

So how do you heal a wound that is bleeding profusely through gauze? A gaping wound created by a bullet that has never been removed. That’s right, you look for other alternative artifacts like tissue to help seal the wound. The same tissue you have used to wipe the flood of tears.

So how do you heal a wound that is bleeding profusely through gauze? A gaping wound created by a bullet that has never been removed. That’s right, you look for other alternative artifacts like tissue to help seal the wound. The same tissue you have used to wipe the flood of tears.

Between death and jail cells there is life, a life somehow denigrated to the spectacle of news commentary and hashtags.

It’s like walking through a forest with mutilated bodies hanging from trees.

Oh wait, that did happen.

So, here we are. Now we need an educational space to reach and teach black and brown boys how to interact with police. Really? It seems to me we need an educational platform to teach white police officers that shooting into a car going in an opposite direction with a car full of black boys or shooting a black man in the back who is running away from you, is not the opportunity to unload rounds of ammunition. Yeah, black boys are killing black boys. White boys are killing white boys. Hispanic boys are killing Hispanic boys. Drugs are running rampant. Gangs are out of control. None of that is the point. Listening to the bleeding heart of a mother of a 6-year-old black boy who looks like a boy just gunned down after leaving a party and hanging out with his friends is the point. So be careful before you rush to judgment and counter with some idiosyncratic points. Now is not the time.

To the police officer who killed Jordan Edwards, here is the fundamental point. You were caught in a lie.

To the police officer who killed Jordan Edwards, here is the fundamental point. You were caught in a lie. You were caught on tape. You were WRONG and you deserve the penalty based on the infraction. Due to your issues, now families have to deal with the gapping wounds of grieving a death that in large part is simply because a black boy was birthed into their family.

Will we, black mothers, be OK? Yes, we will. We will surround one another with love, prayer and support like we have always done at the exciting birth of our black baby boys and in their untimely deaths.

But for now, in an effort to express our pain, TEXAS Goddamn.