50IN50: LETTERS TO OUR SONS

My Dearest Son,

My womb ached for you. In a world that diminished my existence, you were a seed that was never expected to grow. But you grew… like the thick trees our ancestors were hung from.

I made a promise to God. If I could have just this one thing…If I could have you, I would give you all of me.I could never teach you how to become a man. But I could prepare you to possess all the things our ancestors died for…freedom, equality, and education.

PHOTO CREDIT: MONIKA M. PICKETT

I cradled you in my arms…molded you until you could hold your own, whether on the block in the “hood” or the halls of Harvard. I smile whenever I listen to you “code switch” with your black brothers to your white corporate colleagues. We giggle as you share an encounter that made you rise to the occasion. Your spirit was vexed when your qualifications were passively questioned based on the color of your skin.

“Oh, no he didn’t! Run it back! Run it back!! Then what did you say?”

Photo Credit: Monika M. Pickett

I pray our ancestors are proud of the strong black man you’ve become. Their blood runs through your veins. Their resilience carried you as you walked across the land they tilled when you graduated from college…a privilege they never had. You are their wildest dreams.

Who am I to have such audacious dreams for you? I am your mother but I will always be the last man standing in your corner.

Monika M. Pickett is an LGBTQ advocate and the author of PRETTY BOY BLUE and THE DARKEST SHADE OF BLUE. Her work has been selected to be read at the 50IN50: Letters to Our Sons in response to the curatorial statement written by MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morriseau. Please visit her at www.MonikaMPickett.com

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Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community.

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Monika M. Pickett

Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community.