These are all our children.
Trayvon Martin, the African-American 17-year old shut down by a white American racist is our son.
The Jewish children shot down by a French jihadist are our children.
The Afghani children shot down by an American soldier are our children.
Tragedy brings out the best and most beautiful in some, connecting their own suffering to that of others.
And in others, it brings out a vicious desire not for justice, but for revenge.
It’s always like this, and it is like this right now.
In this country, we are seeing a rapidly expanding movement of people—starting with the African American community, and expanding beyond
—who see in the senseless and unjust murder of this sweet boy the dangers that faces many of our own children—particularly among people of color.
And we have seen the pundits on Fox News blame Trayvon’s murder not where it belongs (the racist action of a wannabe neighborhood vigilante), but rather on the hoodie this 17-year was wearing.
Tragedy brings out the most beautiful, and the most hideous, in us.
Where are we standing now? And where are we heading?
Trayvon is our son. Sometimes they literally look like our children.
It is true for the most powerful people in the world, as President Obama said: “If I Had A Son, He’d Look Like Trayvon.”
These children have names, all of them have names.
We see in the faces of these children our own hopes, our own highest aspirations, and yes, our own worst fears.
We see in their faces the worst fears, particularly of the mothers and fathers of black and brown children all over this country.
All these children have mothers who love them, who have nurtured them, and have raised them.
Their loves and our loves are always tinged with the fears of what might happen to our children by racists who project onto our children their own venom.
Our children have names, and we will name them.
We mourn Trayvon Martin, the young man who was chased down, stared down, and shut down by a white Hispanic racist in Florida who was threatened by a 17-year old holding a can of iced-tea and a box of skittles.
We mourn the Jewish children in France, shut down by the French Jihadist.
The Jewish children in France shot by the French Jihadist are our children.
These children have names:
Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, the visiting teacher
Aryeh Sandler, son of Rabbi Sandler.
Gavriel Sandler, son of Rabbi Sandler.
The image on the right is of Miriam’s burial in Jerusalem.
The Afghani children shot by the American soldier are our children.
These children have names, and they too are our children.
Mohamed Dawood son of Abdullah
Khudaydad son of Mohamed Juma
Shatarina daughter of Sultan Mohamed
Zahra daughter of Abdul Hamid
Nazia daughter of Dost Mohamed
Masooma daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Farida daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Palwasha daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Nabia daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Esmatullah daughter of Mohamed Wazir
Faizullah son of Mohamed Wazir
Essa Mohamed son of Mohamed
Akhtar Mohamed son of Murrad Ali
We mourn with all of these victims, with all of their families and loved ones.
And our heart goes out to Mohamed Wazir who in one unimaginable day lost virtually his entire family, his sons, his daughters, his wife, his mother:
“As a parent, you hate to see even your child’s little finger hurt. Imagine losing 11 members of your family at once?” he says. “All my dreams are buried under a pile of dust now…
.I loved them all like they were parts of my body,” Wazir says. “I miss all of them terribly.”
Our lives are connected, the sanctity of our lives is connected, and our suffering is connected.
God-willing, our solidarity and uprising against all forms of injustice will also be connected.
This is the response of the Martin family, reflecting on the death of their sweet son:
It is humbling that President Obama took time from his busy schedule to talk about Trayvon and offer the support of the Department of Justice and other federal organizations.
The President’s personal comments touched us deeply and made us wonder: If his son looked liked Trayvon and wore a hoodie, would he be suspicious too?
We’d like to thank the President and the millions of people from around the world who have shown their support for Trayvon by participating in hoodie marches, rallies or through social media. We are all working together to not only get justice for Trayvon, but also to ensure that this kind of senseless tragedy doesn’t happen to another child.
Humbling, isn’t it, to realize that in the midst of their own grief, Trayvon’s family can still reach out to others, and strive to create a better world?
What are we doing?
Where are we standing?
Are we reaching out to unite in grief and hope all over the world,
Or are we going to bow down in front of the alter of violence, revenge, and anger?