"Get your a-- over here…" was what many of us were mouthing along with the video that went viral of Toya Graham giving her son the beat down on the streets of Baltimore earlier this week. Those of us who know mothers like Graham know she saved his life--by smacking some sense into him and dragging him home. It was a moment that brought a smile to my face (every time I see it, actually…I still remember my Grandmother whoopping my ass into tomorrow). Images of Graham and her son Michael bring back many memories, amidst the tears. I've been crying all week. And I don't cry well, as I get headaches which turn into migraines when I'm upset like this. As I told a number of friends today, I'm tired. I have rogue policing fatigue. Something I'm ashamed of is that I can still watch the video of Walter Scott being shot to death and not be shocked. I'm just waiting for the next one. And that's not right. I'm more upset that the more we work for change, the more things stay the same. Seeing riots and looting on television this week took me back 20+ years to the LA riots which I was right in the middle of with friends and colleagues. We as a country were in pain then. We're in pain now. Twenty+ years later when Baltimore, Ferguson and our emotions are on fire, I don't understand why some people don't get it. People of color are not disposable. Period. Unarmed Black men are not target practice. But I live in a United States where Black boys seem to be born into that role. And we all are responsible. I work in the field of Black male achievement because I can't help myself. This is family. And for people across all races, we're all standing up to say our family is in pain. I'm not a mother. As a Black woman it would break my heart to see my son walk out of the front door every day without me walking right behind him. Hats off to the parents who are much stronger than I am. Baltimore strong.
"Mother of the Century" Toya Sherman and her son Michael.