As we tackle race relations, white privilege, and police brutality, let’s not forget to remind the children of Ferguson that they are loved.
My first thought when I heard that Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the killing of Michael Brown was “What does this mean for the children of Ferguson?” In my home, I saw how the grand jury decision had affected my teen son. He was disappointed and hurt by not only the decision but the hurtful and racist comments on social media.
It made me wonder what the children of Ferguson were thinking and feeling at the time. I wondered if they understood that the lack of justice in the killing of an unarmed teenager does not reflect on the value of their lives. I wondered if they felt loved and valued despite what they may be seeing or hearing. I wondered if they knew that their lives are not disposable and that they are worthy of peace and justice.
As adults, we often get so caught up in our opinions and our need to share our thoughts that we don’t consider how our words and actions impact children. Would the same people who spew hateful comments on social media say those same words to children. Darren Wilson stated that he felt like a five year old child in front of Michael Brown. Did he ever consider the five year old child who might have seen Michael Brown’s body for 4.5 hours?
Yes, those of us who feel that there was no justice in the killing of Michael Brown are hurt but we can not dismiss how children of Ferguson are hurting. Where is their healing? Who is reaching out to them to make sure that they know that they know they have a future and a legacy? We can not be consumed by our pain that we neglect to remind these children that the color of their skin does not negate their value in this world.
We have to comfort their fears with words that encourage and uplift them to see their greatness. We have to provide them with the tools they need to heal and recover from the images of Ferguson. We have to empower the community so that parents, educators, coaches, etc can help the children feel safe.
The children of Ferguson are looking for answers but they’re also paying attention to the responses and reactions of the adults in their community and country. If we’re not showing them that they matter, then we will lose a generation to hopelessness and despair. It is our duty as adults to set the tone for healing. It is our duty as adults to give the children of Ferguson hope, comfort and faith in their future and their country. In our quest to combat racism and fight injustice, let us not forget to take time to remind the children of Ferguson that they are loved. Let us not be so focused on our need to speak, that we forget to listen to the children. Let us remember to ask them what they need from us. Let us create a safe space for them to share their fears, thoughts and concerns.
Now, more than ever, the children need a village to help them get beyond Ferguson so that they may optimistic about their future.
Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr