Her Life Matters.

11998992_10103363060900912_6926951833122441560_nThis morning I dropped my youngest son off at Kindergarten for his first day.  Like me, a lot of parents were huddled around doting on their little munchkins off to face this new transition.

As we waited in line, I knelt down to rest and he burrowed up on my back, playing with dangly earrings.

From this low vantage point, I noticed a little African-American girl in another line, alone, crying.

I peeled my son off me & went over to her.  Her teacher looked at me suspiciously.  I told her I’d noticed her crying and had come to check on her.

She said, “don’t worry about her, she’ll be fine.”

I’m not okay with that. It wouldn’t be okay to ignore a crying child who is alone under any circumstances, but I definitely wasn’t okay with a white woman telling someone not to worry about a small black child alone and crying.  Given every single hardship a typical black child has to face before the age of 13, it is without mercy to meet a simple need.

I don’t presuppose to know the million things running through the head of a Kindergarten teacher on the first day of school within 15 minutes of that first bell.  That she couldn’t deal with the tears of one child is completely understandable.  But don’t tell me ‘not to worry about’ a child speaking in the only language she felt safe enough to express in that moment.

I ignored the teacher. I gave her a swift side-eye and knelt down to the little girl.

I asked her if she was okay? She nodded no.  Her tears were fat and heavy and running down her face one after another after another.

I asked if she was scared. She nodded yes.

I told her she’d be okay.

I asked if her she missed her Mommy. She nodded yes.

I told her she’d be okay.

I asked her if she needed a hug.  She nodded yes.

So I hugged her. And I held on for a few minutes. She continued to cry.

I told her again, that she’d be okay, that I believed in her and that I knew she’d make it through the day.  I reminded her she’d have just a half day and then she could go home.

And with that, I walked back to the line with my son. She continued to weep.

A lot of times I feel a certain level of helplessness that I’m not on the front lines of the #BlackLivesMatter movement or even a thought leader on Twitter regarding advocacy issues which my heart so passionately beats for.

But moments like today reminded me, that sometimes my advocacy “work” can be simple and close to home.

I can only hope and pray that this morning, that little girl felt that her life mattered enough for her tears not to be ignored.

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2 thoughts on “Her Life Matters.

  1. Hi Grace. My wife recently reminded of a ststement that I used to make to her — Bloom where you are planted. That is to say that you should strive to grow, develop, improve and make a difference where you are. We can spend so much energy lamenting where we are not or wishing to be someplace else that we miss the opportunities, needs and the blessings right in front of us. For past few years. I’ve decided that I don’t need a stadium to make a difference, just a Starbucks. Actually speaking into the life of a few people is more powerful and impactful than wanting to speak to thousands. Thanks for taking the time speak into the life of one child. You may never know what difference that small act of kindness made in her life, the lives of those she will touch or the lives of those who witnessed it.

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