Eyes Wide Open

Last night, my son and I were in my Ayoka room. He was working on an assignment to create an infographic about himself. He had to use Canva and called me to help him with finetuning some of the design details: he told me what he wanted to do, I tell him how to achieve it using the platform. He let me have the good chair and he sat in my wooden Ghanian chair, looking at the file on his cell phone.

After he finished, his attention turned to an art piece that I unpacked. It is damaged so I recently contacted the artist (a girlfriend of mine) to ask her if she could replace it. The piece was at his eye level so he had been studying it while I was emailing the infographic to him.

“What is stand your ground?” he asked. “Hunh?” I looked at him. “It’s repeated on the painting.” I knew what he was talking about without turning to follow his gaze. It is a multimedia piece of Trayvon Martin wearing the hoodie.

Stand Your Ground, digital artwork by Keiona Clark

My son was almost four when Trayvon was murdered. As he grew older, I’ve told him about Trayvon because he needed to know who he is and how he died… But now, my son is a teenage, Black male; he will be 15 next week. So now, it ‘hits different’.

As I explained the “stand your ground” law and how it was used to defend the killing of this young man, my son’s jaw tightened, and his head began to hang. It is painful to witness the light leave your child’s eyes.

“Hey,” I said softly. That was not the end of Trayvon Martin. He sparked a WORLDWIDE movement. But he should not have had to die. And the person responsible should have had to pay for it. But that is the country we left.” He nodded.

I am sure it made him think differently about the assignment that he’d just completed, ¿Quien Soy? (Who am I?) and who had that boy been? I’ll circle back with him on this, but he’s a lot like me and needs time to process.

Again, I am thankful that I was unafraid to relocate and do what is best for my family.

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