Children deserve to be supported and protected. They need to be kept safe. From us, they learn compassion, humility, and humanity. They learn how to lead, how to steward, and how to engage. They do not choose their family, their social status, or their country of origin. They do not choose who their parents are, how much money they have, or the power they wield.
Last Friday Katie Rich, an improv comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, tweeted that “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.” Backlash ensued and she deleted her account shortly afterwards. More than 79,000 people signed a petition on Change.org calling for Rich’s termination.
They took him in the middle of the night, kidnapped him from his great-uncle’s home at gunpoint. He was barely waking. He had come down from Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi. They said that he whistled at a white woman in a grocery store.
Three days later, they came for him. He was lynched. They beat him mercilessly. His face was left disfigured, unrecognizable. They gouged his eye out, tied his body with barbed wire, and tied it to a 70 pound cotton gin before they threw him in the river. He might have died just from the injuries alone, but they chose to be sure. They chose to shoot the bloody, beaten, fourteen-year-old in the head. Three days later his body was found in the Tallahatchie River. He was 14 years old.
The defendants were acquitted by the all-white jury. His death changed the world. His mother decided on an open casket so that the world could see what they had done.
It was one of the catalysts for the Civil Rights Movement, and the story of his life and death continue to be memorialized around the world. If they hadn’t come, he might be 78 years old today.
This week in January 2017, Caroline Bryant Donham recanted.
It was the summer of 2014 in Cleveland, Indiana. He was twelve years old when they shot and killed him on the playground. He was shot to death on-camera while playing with his toy gun. None of the officers involved were charged. They claimed they were responding to a 911 call about a black male with a gun in the park, an “active shooter.” He was 12 years old.
In March 2012, Dante Servin was off duty when he confronted a group of African-American youth. An argument ensued after he accosted them and told them to be quiet. As Rekia Boyd and the others turned to walk away, Servin fired five shots from his car. Boyd was struck in the head and killed just minutes from her Chicago home.
Her family moved from Germany to Amsterdam after the Nazis rise in the 1930s. As the persecution crossed more and more regions, Frank and her family went into hiding. In May of 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. It started with restrictive and discriminatory laws that created national fear and panic. Although her father had established his own business, he was not allowed to continue operating it because he was Jewish. In 1944 their hiding place was discovered, and the families in hiding were separated. Men were separated from women. She was one of thousands of Jewish children killed in the concentration camps in the Holocaust. She was 14 years old.
THE BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH
In 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, children led the march. They were determined to protest the city’s segregation laws and ongoing discriminatory policies. Parents were warned that they’d lose their jobs if they protested, which would catapult struggling families into sure and certain poverty. As a result, thousands of 12 to 18 year-olds organized together and swarmed the streets. Leadership provided training on the tactics of nonviolent protesting.
The protest became known as the Birmingham Children’s March. The Commissioner of Public Safety ordered the attack. They brought out the dogs and the water hoses. Children were jailed. They were hit with batons. They were attacked by the police dogs that were released if the children ran.
OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN
Children deserve to be supported and protected. They must be kept safe. From us, they learn compassion, humility, and humanity. They learn how to lead, how to steward, and how to engage. They do not choose their family, their social status, or their country of origin. They do not choose who their parents are, how much money they have, or the power they wield.
I believe this wholeheartedly, despite the politics that separate us. I believe this wholeheartedly, despite my rage.
There is a collective narrative I hear and feel that some people’s children are the only ones worth protecting. Some people’s children are innocent and out-of-bounds. Our children are not. They are not seen as innocent; they are not always even seen as children.
Caroline Bryant Donham’s lie. Four Little Girls. Rice, Till, Boyd. Birmingham and Mississippi. Please forgive my language, my sentiment, and my tone; I understand the contradiction.
I don’t give a fuck about Barron Trump.