Thirteen years ago I held my friends’ first born Christopher for the first time. Yesterday I experienced another first. That baby boy became a bar mitzvah. I admit I am not learned in Jewish culture so I was excited to attend the ceremony to celebrate this accomplishment plus witness the tradition. I didn’t even know it was proper to say, “he became a bar mitzvah” instead of saying, “he is having a bar mitzvah” until now. I was so proud of Christopher as he read from the Torah and made his required speech, which traditionally begins with the phrase “today I am a man.” I got a bit choked up to hear this child say these words knowing he is growing up and making his rite of passage into Jewish adulthood.
My emotions ran extra deep during the ceremony because I see this young man as another Trayvon Martin. I have watched Christopher grow up to be a smart, responsible, loving young man who has the whole world ahead of him. I shared a picture of him in a post a couple of days ago when I discussed the challenges of my friends who are raising young Black boys. My friends have done an outstanding job. Christopher is a prime example of multiculturalism. In his short life, he has experienced more things and people from various backgrounds then I have in my four decades on this earth.
I felt a sense of hope and promise as I left the synagogue. We have no guarantees how the outside world will perceive him or treat him. But after a week of frustration and sadness over Trayvon, I had a few hours of joy for Christopher and his potential. Let’s keep him and all the Trayvons in our prayers.