This past Tuesday morning was like waking up from a recurring nightmare. Unfortunately, the new day didn’t bring better news: On Monday evening St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed black unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown.
The news sparked protests (more than 170, according to CNN) in streets and social media newsfeeds all over the country. On Instagram, parents reflected on what the Brown family’s loss and the grand jury’s ultimate decision meant for their children through photos of their children, many of whom are too young to understand the complicated emotions their parents are addressing. Below, a sampling of some of those posts:
This is my sweet baby. He’s funny, so kind, and the minute he hears a beat he gets down. He’s cute and 4. But he won’t be forever. He’s half white but people don’t always see that. I fear for him. I’m afraid of him growing up. This isn’t something i should have to live with. I should be excited, but I won’t be able to keep him safe or protect him. He won’t always be this funny 4 year old who everyone loves. I’m going to have to teach him things I don’t want to. I don’t want to share stories with him that’ll hurt him. It’s unfair. And I’m pissed. I love him so much and want the world for him. I feel let down tonight, I feel like my children have been let down. He doesn’t deserve to grow up in a country that doesn’t recognize his life, his value. I refuse to let that happen. He matters. Just as much as anyone else.
I just want my kids to be safe. I don’t feel safe here. I live in a predominately white building in Manhattan and they are scared of me. They don’t even know my name, yet alone want to know. I have to put on a face and smile just to keep folks unalarmed. All because I’m a black man. I’m raising a baby boy who will one day be a black man in America.. Tokyo? London? Paris? Where should I go.. This wasn’t Dr. King’s dream.