When the Trayvon Martin case went to trial, one of the catch phrases was “I am Trayvon Martin”. Even President Obama remarked that Trayvon could have been him.

The case of Michael Brown, a young man barely out of his teenage years, shot 8 times by Ferguson Police is no different.

In my case, my heart aches for this case from several angles.

My father could’ve shot Mike Brown.

My father was a police officer. This isn’t something I share a lot because I know how the Black community feels about the police. And more often than not, justifiably so. But I didn’t grow up in an area where the police were considered public enemy, so it was hard to reconcile all the things we knew about the bad apples spoiling the bunch. He’s no longer here, but I would have loved to have gone to him to get his insider knowledge about how such a thing could have happened. Answered my questions about shooting to disarm vs shooting to kill. If the blue code of silence supercedes moral and legal laws. If he would’ve done the same thing.

My brother could’ve been Mike Brown.

Tallness tends to run in my family. Both my brothers are above average height and of decent built. Their statures are assuming enough to stand out in a sea of people. As the details and speculations of the case leak out faster than sands through an hourglass – I wonder how a person of Mike Brown’s size and weight could’ve been moving fast enough to warrant police fearing for their lives to shoot him with an M-16.

My nephew could’ve been Mike Brown’s friend.

Currently lost in this, are the people Mike was with at the time. The last of summer days before school starts to chill and relax. Shots ring out and by the end there was blood on the ground and sirens in the air. What sort of nightmares are his friends going to have for the rest of their lives? He’s given his eyewitness account now, but what will happen to him when he finally (if he ever has the chance) to get up on the stand? He’ll never be able to unsee what he’s seen. To bury one of your friends, before he’s gotten a chance to truly live…there are no words.

I could be Mike Brown’s mother.

No matter where you are from, what religion you practice, etc – there is one law of nature that mustn’t be broken – parents are not supposed to outlive their children. This goes against the circle of life. Babies grow up to become children, teenagers and adults. As they get older, so too do their  parents who may eventually one day need their children to support them as they did to their offspring. Nothing is more heartbreaking than to see the pain on Lesley McSpadden’s face. From the moment you know you are about to bring forth life – everything changes. How you see yourself and the world around you. I don’t know what her back story is, but when she says:

Do you know how hard it was to keep him in school and get him to graduate?

Raising any child in any environment, under any circumstances – it is a challenge. One that she’ll never get to see live through to fruition. The mother in me, cannot formulate the thoughts in my head of my son ceasing to exist. A mother should never have to. 

Mike Brown’s city could be your city.


What’s happening in Ferguson has and could’ve happened anywhere. It could happen in the suburbs or the hood. In the big city or the small town. When the balance of power isn’t in line with the population, when the people who are supposed to uphold the law view its citizens as animals, when the police transform into the military and peaceful protesters are turned into angry, looting mobs, when the streets of the democracy of the United States of America looks like a revolution in Egypt, when people in Gaza can offer tips on how to cope with tear gas, when constitutional rights to assemble and be a journalist are ripped to shreds – is it any wonder that from coast to coast people are angry and tired? Every human being on the planet has a breaking point, and time and time again – blacks are told to create a new threshold for theirs. At what cost do Black people have to continue to stifle their right to humanity?

Like many, I’ve been glued to my Twitter timeline for the past few days. There’s something so surreal about literally watching everything unfold in real-time. My brain couldn’t wrap itself around seeing 6 second snippets of police in tanks, people having guns pointed at their faces, rubber and wooden pellets being shot at unarmed people who just wanted to go home. It made me both sad and sick to my stomach, but I couldn’t walk away. The more people that could see what was happening – the better. I need to believe that all these images – both haunting still ones and terrifying moving ones – will be used for good to bring not only justice and peace but finally some real dialogue.



— Yaba Blay (@fiyawata) August 14, 2014

If any good can come of this – a life lost, a city torn apart, a numbed country – is that maybe the voices of Black men will finally be heard. That the media will look at #IfIWasGunnedDown and see the errors of their ways. That people  will see the added burden and responsibility of raising a Black man via #IGotTheTalk. That men will hear the roar of Black women, who on many days may be at odds, but when your hands are in the air – begging police not to shoot – we are right there beside and behind you.

There has to be some good. There have been too many words. Too many wars. Too many hurts. Too much hatred. Too much misdirection. Too much in-fighting. Too much of everything and not enough of so much else.

So let us cry. Let us yell. Let us march. Let us write. Let us be still. Let us plan. Let us act.

But most importantly – let us never forget. 

Rest in Peace Mike Brown.