• nwyatt

"Don't Shoot"

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

With the killing of George Floyd and the protests that are happening across the country, I continue to think about what and how I want to impact systemic change. The only thing that comes to my mind is that I am an educator. This might seem like a small feat to others, but it is bigger than you think. This is how I can effect change, we must start now. Educating brown and black students about navigating systems and advocating for change is at the forefront of my mind. I never thought of raising royalty bigger then just my two kings, but I now see it as a movement, a call to action that God has placed in my heart to take the steps to reach out to families to educate them about their rights and responsibilities.

Over the years, I can count numerous people asking Big and I, what is the secret in raising strong young men of color. What people don’t understand is that Hezekiah and Little are not an exception to the rule, they are the expectation in moving our children forward in a world in desperate need of change. There is no hidden secret, it just takes time, consistency, accountability, demonstration of healthy relationships, and putting God first. Exactly, what I choose to believe would make the world go round a little smoother. Imagine if police officers were seen attempting to build healthy relationships with our kids, being consistent in the communities as positive leaders, holding people accountable through restorative practices, and taking into consideration fundamental belief systems of all people. What would the world be like?

Great story of a police officer in Canada that sat down with my family and I to open his mind to hear young Hezekiah after he heard him say, “Don’t shoot me.” On this trip, we did our normal, played in the hotel, tried a lot of different food spots, and ordered room service. If you can remember from previous blogs this is what vacation looks like to my boys. We happened to be in a Fat Burger and two police men walked into the restaurant. Of course, my kids say the first thing that always comes to mind (insert smacking my hand on my head emoji). The police officer looked at us and nodded since we were the only people in the restaurant and young Hezekiah put his hands up and said, “don’t shoot.” Yep that sinking feeling you get when someone turns around and waves at a police car, or when your son points at someone who looks different, or when your child starts crying in the middle of church….I had all of those feelings at once in that moment. The police officer walks over, bends down, and asks Hezlo why he thought he was going to shoot him. The “good parents” Solomon and I are, tried to start explaining things like, oh were from the states and police brutality and...... But, the police officer only wanted to hear from Hezekiah. He asked if he could sit down and talk with him, which he did until his food was ready (seemed like forever but, was probably 5 minutes). As he talked my burger got cold, He chatted with Hezekiah about likes and dislikes, gave him a little sticker, shook his hand and walked away. It was a positive experience for Hezekiah until we had to drop knowledge about dealing with “other” police officers. Which is a sad commentary within itself. However, what if all police officers took the time and stop and talk with our black and brown kids and built relationships with programs such as; DARE and built partnerships within our school systems. Just a thought….

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