An American Tragedy
Edited By Emmanuel Harris II and Antonio D. Tillis
Chapter Five: The Pain Felt by Every Afro-Descendant
The Pain Felt by Every Afro-Descendant
“The Pain Felt by Every Afro-Descendent” is dedicated to my nephews Christiaan and Nicholas, and to all the Black men who have inspired me throughout my journey and have embraced me with their love and resiliency.
“Mom, why are you crying so much? I have never seen you cry like this and it is not family.” Those were the words of my 12-year-old nephew, as he watched his mother, my sister, cry after the Zimmerman verdict was announced. This case was about the pain of a family, of a mother losing her young son. It also became a case underscoring where America stands on race relations, what justice will look like, and whether it will show up in a way that validates the Black experience. As we all watched the trial, I kept saying this might happen again. I wanted to be hopeful but I was upset that this young boy was being judged and stigmatized even after his death. He was still carrying the weight of what it is to be a Black person in America (women, men, boys, and girls). The case caught my attention from the beginning, as I kept repeating to myself that this could be my nephew. In working with youths of color, both boys and girls, I also learned that the young women thought that this could happen to them. It crossed gender and became a...
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