Dear Jamiel

Dear Jamiel,

I am not afraid of you! So you just got out the car and I just gave you “the talk”, a talk I knew from the time I found out I was pregnant with you, I would one day have to give.  The talk about you being a young black male in America.  As we talk I am filled with so much emotion, but you, you are calm, you are reassuring me, your mom, that you will be okay.  Although I know you are trying to make me feel better I know after your next words, you don’t feel okay.  “Mom, I know you love me and care for me, but this world doesn’t, I know this!”  I heard you say those words and my heart just broke.  As always we prayed together, I gave you a hug and watched as walked away, not knowing what would unfold for you throughout the day.  I started to pull off and realized I was crying, not just tears slowly streaming down my face, but full out didn’t even realize I’d made a noise crying.  My son, your feeling of hopelessness is a lot for me to bear.  What can I do, what can I say to let you know that you matter?!

Jamiel, you matter, you matter to me. You are an amazing young man, full of life and love.  Everyone that comes in contact with you has told me that after being in your presence they feel amazing, that you wear your character and they can tell that’s who you truly are as a person.  You are caring, kind, loving, intelligent, a gentlemen, and boy when you put your mind to something I’ve seen you accomplish it.  With all that why would anyone want to stop you from being who you are?  Why can’t people see that gifted, multi-talented person you are?  Why, Why, Why? I keep asking myself these questions and baby boy I have no answers for you, I don’t understand why.  That right there is like a knife in my heart not being able to answer this question for one of my truest loves.  And son, you are one of my truest loves.

Jamiel, I am not afraid of you, but son, there are people out here who are. Those people don’t see you the way I do, and even if they get a glimpse of all your goodness, their own fear won’t allow them to embrace you.  There are grown men who have told you to trust them, that if you need help to call on them, these same men are envious of who you are yet to become.  The future you makes them very nervous.  We laugh and joke about you becoming the next Top Chef or the next big dance star, but son someone out there is afraid that you will accomplish those goals and it means less for them.  You asked “how can a grown man be jealous of me?”  Because son, you are the unknown, the X factor, people are afraid of what they don’t know or understand.  Jamiel, you at 16 years old, 5’7”, about 130 pounds are scary to some grown men, but not to me, not to your sisters, not to your family.  We are not afraid of you, but the fear of the target these individuals have placed on your head is real for us and thus I’m holding you a little tighter, Symone is nicer, and Anissa needs more suga from you.  WE LOVE YOU, YOU MATTER TO US!

As I get your text of love and Mom, I’m alright, I still have no answers to give to you. I know that today you are just trying to be the 16 year old young man enjoying friends, enjoying life.  While we’ve talked about what’s going on in the world, your world consist of football, swimming, keeping track of your sisters, or creative writing.  My promise to you son is that I will fight, all my armor is on for you, for you to be able to live your truth, for you to be able to enjoy your childhood, for you to continue to grow into the awesome man I know you will become.  I have faith your story has already been written and it’s one that the world must prepare itself for.  Fearful or not.

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