Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Who Will Cry

Who will cry for the little boy, lost and all alone?
Who will cry for the little boy, abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy? He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy? He never had for keeps.

Who will cry for the little boy? He walked the burning sand
Who will cry for the little boy? The boy inside the man.

Who will cry for the little boy? Who knows well hurt and pain
Who will cry for the little boy? He died again and again.

Who will cry for the little boy? A good boy he tried to be
Who will cry for the little boy? Who cries inside of me

--Antwone Fisher from Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?

On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, a seven-year-old boy lost part of his innocence forever. Forever changed by a neighbor choking him. Forever changed by a police officer’s excessive force against his family. Forever changed by his mother and siblings being arrested and jailed.

What should have been the beginning of a joyous season: two weeks to sleep in, two weeks of video games, playing with friends, and other seven-year-old things quickly turned into two weeks of torment, agony, and misery. Suddenly, his family was thrust into the national spotlight. Strangers peering into and dissecting their lives.

We anxiously awaited the results of the Fort Worth Police Department’s internal investigation. Yesterday, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald informed the public of the officer’s punishment.

A 10-Day Suspension


The blow. The shock.

It’s one thing to follow the reports and watch the videos of police brutality that occur across the nation. But when it happens in your own city, in your own backyard, less than five miles from your home, when you find out that your own son attended the same childcare center as her children, it becomes a little more personal and relevant. 

Honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised with the outcome since I’ve seen the similar outcomes time and time across the nation. Yet, that doesn’t lessen the pain.

Not only that, but Officer Martin will resume his patrol in the same neighborhood once his suspension concludes to make “amends” with the community.

What? Come again?

It seems extremely cruel to place Officer Martin on the same beat again. Is there no reprieve for the family? Must they constantly be taunted by this officer’s presence?

I’m certain that’s not the news the family was awaiting. I imagine it felt like being stabbed and then having the perpetrator slowly turn the knife.

When this incident first occurred, Jacqueline Craig, his mother, said, "It made me feel less of a parent that I couldn't protect him when he needed it."

So my heart breaks for them.

As a mother of a son, not much older than her son’s age, I can’t fathom the weight of having to tell your child that nothing will happen to the man who caused the family so much pain and humiliation. In fact, you may see him occasionally patrolling the neighborhood. None of that makes sense to me.

So last night, I thought of the little boy.

For many children in Fort Worth, today is the first day they returned to school after the winter break. Children who would return with tales of the gifts they received, or the places they traveled to. I’m sure there will be a prompt in a class or two asking the students to write about their break.

I don’t know if his mother decided to send him to school today to restore some sense of normalcy in his life, or if she allowed him to remain at home to protect him from the curiosity and onslaught of questions from his peers who recognized his mother on television.

As a former educator and a person who endured trauma in her childhood, I know all too well what it’s like to sit in a classroom, hear the words, yet everything remains a blur. Your mind is somewhere else. Trapped in thoughts of what happened yesterday.

Yet you're expected to Sit. Learn. Focus. On the lesson of the day.

So my heart hurts for him and other children like him who have endured traumatic experiences but are still expected to perform and rise to the occasion.

And rise I want him to do. But heal. Heal and rise.

Rise up and become an attorney like Lee Merritt or a community activist like Cory Hughes. Fight. Fight for civil rights and justice and equal protection under the law.  

Personal Message

Learn. Soak up all that you can. And use that knowledge as fuel for the journey towards justice to ensure that no other little boys or girls will have to endure what your family has endured.

You may not comprehend it now, and you may cry yourself to sleep at night and feel all alone. Please know that there are millions of people who have cried for you, and who are concerned about your welfare and well-being.


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