Some places are inaccessible. For those with heads like velvet blackness, skins smooth like the color night.
Some places are inaccessible. For those with eyes darkly clear, those who look the sun in the face, unblinded.
Some places are inaccessible. For names wrapped with African-ness like a shawl, names like Olisadubem, or the ones for whom God calls.
Some places are inaccessible. For those unafraid and lusty, those with feet destined for infinite processions through paths dusky.
Some places are inaccessible . For those who scream, through every limb, those who let tears fall, unashamedly.
Some places are inaccessible. For those prepared to be truly free, those prepared to unlearn centuries or days of lies.
Some places are inaccessible. For those full of life, black boys, young with sterling and vigorous life.
So make places accessible. For those with laughter, the sweet staccato of black boys.
Make places accessible, for those with electric currents of life, black boys with thoughts like tiny sparks.
Make places accessible. For long days argued away, black boys articulate with provocative assertion.
Make places accessible. For dreaming, debating, aspiring, black boys whose feet echo through windy paths.
Make places accessible. For black boy joy, perpetually overflowing, astounding, indestructible.
Just make places accessible, for boys, black, young, our own.
I was inspired to write this piece following a experience I had today. My 5 year old was kicked out his camp after only 4.5 days in attendance. I initially blamed myself. Blamed my son for his ways that were deemed as problematic after only 4.5 days. Then I remembered I have been here before. It was probably the jolt I needed. Nothing motivates a mother more than using inappropriate labels or descriptors. I have also be lagging behind with boy number 2. I know he needs help. Not enough to kick him out of camp, but more so to make him want to be around you. He plays piano every weekend with teachers who look like him. He can hold a tune and he is 5. He plays tennis with young men that do not look like him. He can swing his racket really far and he is 5. The fact that they felt he was emotionally dis-regulated, after 4.5 days of being in his presence, the one we literally named after God, is the motivation I never knew I needed with him.
I have always reminded him that his name is all he needed. Little do I know that I need it more. And Olisa, will be our guide. Just keeping this here for when the narrative with son number 2 begins to change. I have no idea what the future holds. I am not as energetic as I once was with the regimen I used to help my son number 1 thrive in ways that keep us speechless. He started his own camp today and let’s just say I give God glory. So here we go. Back to the basics with son number 2. The first thing I highly recommend is to get an evaluation so you know where your child stands. Yes these evaluations were not made with black boys in mind and I have my reservations with them. But they help you attain additional resources you may not be able to assess, many that will go a long way towards changing the narrative as you intervene early. Stay tuned as I go back to exploring how to do this again. Only this time, children’s books like these by bell hooks will be my guide. I intend to work to ensure that black boys thrive in spaces that would love to see them cry unashamedly or laugh with the fullness of life.