Annie is the name of one of my new co-workers. Just saying her name it’s hard not to have a smile on your face; Annie is not a “hard-core” name. She embodies her name with an extremely sweet disposition and is just an overall nice girl. She just turned 24 and is still trying to accept life outside of her sorority house and not living the life of an undergrad anymore. Running is her favorite pastime and she talks lovingly about her parents. Yesterday she said to me:
Kelly, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on your conversation earlier but I know you’re upset about that young man who got killed in Florida. And I am sorry you feel sad.
She caught me off guard because I had been on the phone with a friend talking about Trayvon Martin and how emotionally disturbed I’ve been the past few days. I told my friend how odd it was for me to be in a work environment where it seemed like no one knew or wanted to acknowledge this story. Granted I have only been at this job for a month and I’ve noticed there isn’t a lot of water-cooler chatter happening about any topic other than work, so I realize I need to mind my business and not bring personal into the 9 to 5. I thanked Annie for speaking up and asking me about it. We discussed the nature of the case since I could tell she only knew limited details. I left her looking shocked and bewildered. When I told her that one of the main reasons I was so upset was because I keep thinking about all of my friends’ sons and how difficult it must be to raise young black men. She said:
You know, as a white female I’ve never thought about it. I’ve never thought that I would be perceived as being threatening to someone else. I cannot imagine what that must be like.
Her response made me smile and cry at the same time. I appreciated her a-ha moment because this All-American girl with long blonde hair and blue eyes would not know and will never truly understand. I am glad she overheard my phone call because in the end the response I got from her was priceless. I could see something behind her eyes click as if she had a mini-awakening. An awakening is what we need as a nation. We need a global awakening.
I loved seeing the support at the Million Hoodies March and my Facebook friends who took the time to post their own hoodie photo. My favorite Facebook image had to be this one:
This is my friends’ son Christopher. He’s 13 years old, a great student, and accomplished swimmer and equestrian. This image shows Christopher’s everyday spirit. His mom said it broke her heart to tell him why she wanted to take a picture of him in a hooded sweatshirt. It breaks my heart too.