Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thoughts of the Baby Prince

We who live in the United States are so far removed from the world of the United Kingdom, of England, of the celebrations in the streets over a baby few of the countrymen will ever be privileged to see - more or less, hold in loving arms.  And yet, on the world news, the world around this monarchy stopped when the news came that Prince William and Princess Kate had a baby boy, finally.

"A Prince is Born!" the headlines shout.

Millions of champagne bottles were purchased.  Visitors filled neighborhood pubs to toast in the arrival.  People took off from work to stand in front of the hospital where the 8-pound-6-ounce baby boy burst forth from his mother's body into the awaiting universe.

I sat and watched momentarily awed at the semblance of honor and prestige - much as I had done two years ago.  Funny that two years ago, when this baby's parents wed in a ceremony witnessed round the world with much fanfare, I sat much as I did when their son entered the world.  Awed and aching with love for a relationship, for a family to be built.

And then I had the thought this morning after: this baby boy had been anticipated by his parents and the world.  I wondered if everyone wondered about this child that had been carried for over half a year, who he would be and the lives he would touch and if he would ever be king one day.  If nothing else, he was born into a royal lineage and that would be enough.  He was a born prince, loved by a whole nation and a monarchy.

My thoughts turned to my own child to be or already being carried in my womb and most certainly in my heart.  Who would this child be?  Would the world he was destined to be born into be ultimately glad regarding his arrival?  Would he like a prince in a Kingdom, be a world-changer?  Who was this child to be?

As his mother, I already know he is meant to be great or else he would never have come this way.  Just as Prince William and Princess Kate took precious time with their son, the baby prince, my husband and I will be honored to love him and raise him and prepare him for a world that needs him one day.

Another thought crossed my mind, as I considered the thousands of other children sharing the baby prince's birthday but not his lineage.  A whole nation celebrated the arrival of the British baby born into a long-standing monarchy.  But who celebrated when these others were born?  Who cheered and toasted and kissed the cheeks of others at the thought of their arrivals?  Who loved them?

And finally, it occurred to me that this is the response that every baby deserves to have.  Every child deserves to have his or her presence heralded and appreciated.  But this is not always the case.  If it were, there would be no need for me to be an advocate for so many.  I wonder, though, if we have the chance every day to love children like a whole nation today loves a baby prince today.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It has taken me some time to write anything concerning the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the resulting decision regarding it, although I have posted a few comments on my Facebook about it.  The truth is I love children and teens of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds, desiring to advocate for as many as humanly possible (most especially those in foster care or living in poverty), and this case has ripped my heart from my chest.  It has grieved my heart so.  It has taken my breath from me.

I am in shock.

In the midst of all the media attention turning the trial away from Trayvon's life so quickly snuffed out and toward the right of a grown man to "defend himself", I want to return our attention to the overlooked reality. The real question posed to the jury from day one wasn't whether George Zimmerman had a right to defend himself and his neighborhood from a supposed threat in the embodiment of a 17-year-old.  The question, the bottom line, was this and will always be this:

Did George Zimmerman have the right to kill a child?

Did George Zimmerman have the right to shoot a child in the heart and leave him bleeding on the ground because Trayvon, for all intents and purposes, confronted and fought back against him (the perpetrator)?

Did George have that right - to kill a black boy walking through his neighborhood (not once considering that the boy had a right to be there all along)?

Again, did he have the right to kill...A CHILD?

I work in what is endearingly described as "the system."  I work as an advocate to protect the lives of children from infancy through age 17.  I have been an advocate for this population group for many years, long before I became a social worker in the Child Protection division of Department of Human Services.  My eyes have locked eyes with boys that remind me of Trayvon: my words have ministered to and taught boys that wear hoodies, boys that talk on cell phones to girls, and boys that drink Arizona Iced Tea and eat Skittles.  I adore two boys named Davon and Anthony that are around the same age as this boy.  And I would give my life to protect them all.

So, from the moment that I heard about this boy...this boy shot in the heart...I have been heartbroken.  How could anyone pretend like this boy deserved the result that he got?  How could anyone act like the victim was the one that victimized a man that stalked him?  How could the 6 women on that jury forget that the man sitting in the defendant's chair had killed a child?

It was hard to stomach, as I saw boys I knew and had known in the face and demeanor of Trayvon Martin; it was unbelievable that some people had the audacity to think because he wore gold fronts in his mouth and stuck his middle fingers up on Facebook pictures that he was a thug, a delinquent, deserving of death because he fought back.  How many times have I seen teenagers in this generation wearing those?  (Heck, Jill Scott, who is part of my generation, wore them at a concert recently.  Is she, singer extraordinaire, a thug too?)  How many times have I seen pictures of my nieces with middle fingers up to the sky?

Is that the reason Trayvon was dehumanized?

Is that the reason some in our society think George Zimmerman was protected under the law, standing his ground against a CHILD?  While some may think Trayvon was more man than child, I beg to differ.  The laws that I am required to abide by as a sworn-in protector of children clearly state that childhood ends at 18, not 17.  Children can be placed in foster care as a means of protection, even at age 17.  So at what point did a 17-year-old child become public enemy number one?  When did he become a man?  When did he become a man pummeling another man, instead of what he really was - a child fighting back against an unknown assailant, like good parents have taught their children to do when a stranger accosts them?

My hope is that we all learn a lesson from this, even as further litigation against George Zimmerman looms in the near future.  We all have to remember who truly deserves protection in this world.

The children in this generation are worth us taking a second look.  Sometimes the ones we have to protect sag their pants.  Sometimes, they wear gold fronts in their mouths.  Sometimes, they take pictures with their middle fingers up to the world.  Sometimes, they say things that are derogatory or shocking.  Sometimes, they defy logic.  They even fight back when they feel threatened...even in the face of death.

But there is one thing I can say, as a lover of this generation's children.  We as adults have a responsibility to love and protect them.  We have to care about them no matter what they look like, no matter what race they are, no matter what.

People can disagree with me.  That's fine.  But this is my platform and I am using it.

George Zimmerman killed a 17-year-old CHILD (not a man, but a child) in cold blood.  The job of holding him responsible was poorly handled by the 6 women on that jury and I am disappointed in them (these wives, mothers, aunts, women).

They knew he was guilty of murder.  Even now, the news comes out that there was division on the jury - between the ones that knew he was guilty and the ones that didn't want him to be.  The ones that were more concerned about his right to stand his ground after stalking a child forgot about and overlooked that child's right to live - to be a child that enjoyed iced tea and skittles, to be a high school student, to be the pride and joy of his mother and father, to study aeronautics after high school graduation (not to steal or sell dope or end up in prison like Mr. Zimmerman obviously thought).  And yet, at the end of the day, I think we all would have preferred a hung jury rather than the one we ended up with.  (Harsh to say, I know, but truth nonetheless.)

And now, we who live in shock as a result look to governmental leadership that have the authority to pay attention to the blood spilled on the ground and not ignore it.

The spilled blood was the blood of a child.