For the Kids Who Die and Those of Us Left Behind

I used to be a little boy.
I used to believe in people and dreams.
I used to trust adults and Christmas and bedtime.
I used to think that everything would be alright.

5 years ago, a little girl died
when being at home wasn’t safe anymore.
When police burst through that front door.
When age and size mattered less than skin color.

1 year ago, a little boy died
When playtime wasn’t safe anymore.
When the public park was only for some.
When 3 seconds was too long to wait.

A part of me has died.
A part that thought leaders had our best interest in mind.
A part that trusted in systems to save us.
A part that was lulled into softness and submission.

And then something awoke in me.
Something that is less afraid to challenge rule enforcers.
Something that runs toward the cries and chaos.
Something that knows the truth in love and joy and laughter.

Today I mourn, the Kids Who Die, 
And tomorrow I will reach for your hand.
Please reach back
for we live this life together.

Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley Jones.
Tamir Elijah Rice.