“Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.”
The dove weeps for your children’s souls that were taken too quickly from the
nurturing arms of Mama.
Singing Negro spirituals in open casket funerals, the wind of disbelief continues to kiss your cheek like a mosquito sucking blood from the skin.
You know it’s there, but you’re too tired to swat at it.
Numb. Outraged. Dazed. Silent.
Your memory is filled with soloists singing Precious Lord, O’ Mary Don’t You Weep, and The Lord’s Prayer.
Visions of crowded churches with open caskets of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Jordan Edwards, Emmitt Till, and other nameless black boys who have died in America’s dream.
What do you say to a mother who’s lost her child to police brutality?
“Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.”
She will never hear those four words again from her child.
With an aching soul, you muster up the words to share with the family.
During your grieving, you comfort others.
As you meet the eyes of black mothers, you realize we are not protected from the pain that suffocates you. We can be you in a second…
…and we know it.
Screaming silently, you relive the moment when you heard your baby was gunned down like an animal.
What does one say to the women of color who lost their children to police violence?
“Happy Mother’s Day, M’Dea.”
The loud sound of shuffling cards in shopping malls overshadow the hollow cry of those who buried strange fruit too soon.
Howling cries during the night, racing memories of baby bottles, and tasting the smell of gun smoke comfort you on Mother’s Day.
Your baby taken and your life changed forever.
“Happy Mother’s Day, Mother.”
Mothers of Mike, Jordan, Tamir, and Trayvon you are initiated into a new sisterhood.
Mothers of Sandra, Simone, Gynnyna, Darneisha, and Aiyana have a bond no mother should experience.
These mothers thought their girls and boys would wear white on Mother’s Day.
This African American tradition has been passed down through our community for years.
But these mothers are left.
What does you say to a woman of color who was killed by the police?
“Happy Mother’s Day, Momma.”
Dr. Candice Bledsoe is a faculty member at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and executive director of the Action Research Center in Dallas, Texas. Her research explores equity, access, and the experience of underrepresented students in higher education. She has received numerous fellowships including The National Endowment of the Humanities, the New Leadership Academy, National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan, and Boone Texas Project for Human Rights Education. Dr. Bledsoe is a Dallas Public Voice.