This is a guest post by my daughter, Cynthia Sleight. I had been thinking of the current protests, and the people my children were friends with as children. She emailed me this text, and I decided to post it. We care about the living. This is about my children’s friends. I also have Black friends. I feel the same way about them.
Thank you, Cynthia.
Whenever I see the news about young Black men and women dying and being mistreated by the police, I think of my childhood friends, many of whom were Black. And my heart breaks, knowing it could be them.
Arianna, Olivia, and Analisa. Three great girls. They stayed at our home often, and theirs was the only family that would just drop by unannounced. We picked up the younger two when their sister had a medical emergency. Their dad was a medical doctor, and he had students. One day, a student crossed to the other side of the hallway when he passed, staying away from the Black man.
Patrick and Preston. Two great boys. They visited and spent time doing their homeschool work with us. We played together often, debating ridiculous things in the car or kicking a ball in the yard. They were homeschooled because the public school had treated their older brothers as if they’d never amount to anything even though they were very smart.
Chris. Madison, Marshall, and McKenna. Ryson and Kesha. All good kids. All friends. We didn’t know all of the extent of racism in the US, just a little bit. All of our parents tried to protect us from the worst, I think, so we could just be kids.
Now, with everything going on, I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. I’m sorry the world isn’t as safe as we thought. I hope I can do my part, raising my sons to respect everyone, no matter the color. Teaching them that Black lives matter and need to be protected.
Black lives need to be protected so the cops don’t arrest Marshall, the son of an air force officer, for being a black man in the vicinity of a recent crime. So Olivia, the daughter of a doctor, doesn’t worry about heading out late to get pizza or gas. So Patrick, the son of a chemist, knows he can go for a bike ride in peace.
Until that is certain, we need to fight. We need to make sure our Black friends feel as safe as we do in our country.