Trayvon Martin, You are Black Gold / by Erin Baynham

I'm sitting at Starbucks listening to Esperanza Spalding's new cd, Radio Music Society. As a die hard Esperanza Spalding fan, I've been waiting for this album forever!  I love her single with Algebra Blessett, Black Gold. It's an anthem that tells us that being Black is beautiful! I know the era of "Black Power" and "The Big Pay Back" ended back in the late 70's/early 80's, but this is the perfect new addition to a theme we've believed in forever. By now, I'm sure we all know the story of Trayvon Martin, murdered in cold blood for looking suspicious. This neighborhood watchman that killed him made a bold mistake that has started a frenzy in our communities. This my friends, is another reason why I LOVE social media. I get reminders of Trayvon all day, everyday through my social media streams.

I can't help but hurt for similar reasons. My goal was to move to Baltimore city, where I grew up, and live a life a metropolitan bliss. My lover, however, has vowed never to do this, as he has buried two family members due to violence in the last five years. I can't help but want to hold my brothers, my innocent, sweet brothers, who could have easily been Trayvon. My brothers are 16 and 22, and they throw bugs outside instead of stepping on them in the house. We are all often teased because we "sound too white" or "have too many white friends". We are labeled "punks" because none of us has been in a fight.

The only other time that I have been so enraged, so hurt, so saddened, is when we received a call that my brother's plane might be under attack in London. We paced back in forth all day, knowing that these people had to go across the ocean. And when they arrived at the airport, surrounded by tv crews and families that thought they lost their children, all we could do is weep. Nobody on the plane was told why they had such a long delay, until they were in the arms of loved ones. This very day marked the point at which you couldn't bring liquids over 3 oz. onto planes.

Prejudice and racism is real, very real. It doesn't make me laugh (almost ever), it makes me mad. Stereotyping is equally as strong. Remember the trench coat mafia? Yeah, they had us on alert for awhile. 9/11 still makes it hard for Middle Eastern people, and countless others in the world. The neighborhood watchman could have called 911, or he could have stared Trayvon down, but instead, he made a lethal judgement call. We have to do better, world.

Trayvon and brown people of the world, you are Black Gold. I can't say it enough. No matter how suspicious you look, how ugly you feel, how self righteous you are. No matter how light or dark you are, you are Black Gold. I'm so proud to be a Black woman--you have no idea.

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