Dialect Magazine

This can’t be that time – Elegy for a murdered son, Trayvon Martin

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4(NKJV)

It’s been nearly a year since the senseless death of a young black man, Trayvon Martin. Even now, I think of where we are as a nation on the issues of the Second Amendment.  26 senseless gun murders in Connecticut later, we still haven’t settled that matter.  I, also, think of whether we have entered a post-racial society.  Finally, the most piercing pain for me is as a mother of a young black man in America. I never thought, in birthing a son, I’d be giving birth to a gravely endangered species.

Sybrina, I cannot imagine your pain of sending a son to eternal rest; saying goodbye rather than saying goodnight. I cannot fathom the hole in your heart, but this I know; “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to be born and a time to die,”… this cannot be that time.

I, too, held a brown boy under my heart, carrying him as part of me until the day he came to the world. It was a time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time of great promise in America where I never imagined that being mother to a young black man meant I had given life to a gravely endangered species. This cannot be that time.

We give our sons both roots and wings, holding our breath as they learn to fly. I’m sure you never expected Trayvon to take wing for the heavens so soon. There is a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted. Trayvon was yet so green. It was not his time.

My son stood between his father, sister, and I in Washington, DC to hear a President who looked like him take the Oath of Inauguration in 2008. That year, the Children’s Defense Fund reported a firearm death rate for black boys ages 15 to 19 more than four times higher than for comparable Whites. What time is this?

It is said that love, endless and relentless, redeems all wrong. Just how much time does that take? All I can do in tribute to the memory of your young prince is pledge my voice to the cause of Justice; offer my prayers to you and those that mourn; and assert that though there is a time to mourn, a time to dance will come.

To everything there is a season. I know, even in my despair, that even this season will not last.

1 Comment

  • January 21, 2013

    Chelle- Although I can not speak as a person of color, I can speak as a mom of a son, and I too experience the fear of a mother for her child- just because of the way the world is now. My sister lost her son at age 4, not through senseless violence but through senseless cancer. Watching her go through that experience makes me realize that losing a child is senseless, period, no matter how, and the loss is still with her 21 years later.

    I know the statistics of young Afro-American males and it hurts me to know of them, but for me, I need to look to what is positive and what is happening positively in the world. Today is Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration for the SECOND time, of a black president. So I am hopeful for the future.

    Candace Davenport
    http://www.ourlittlebooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

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