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.

I watched you the other night and wondered out loud to myself, where are you.

Surrounded by so many of them, few that looked like you, I felt like screaming out loud, where are you.

I waited for you to turn, waited for you to look my way, waited to see if your stride is still as confident as you are, waited to hear whether your voice is just as striking too.

You did. It is.

There you are. There you are still more beautiful than the rising sun.

Still with your crooked smile that melts my heart like on the day you first arrived. Still with a voice so serene, so charismatic like the call of birds.

Someday, somewhere, someone like me, will write about you, about your confident walk, your crooked smile, your charismatic voice, and how something tried but failed to dim the sun, and all it’s brilliance.

To know you, is to see the sun.

Image by Miranda M with ua_designed on instagram.

I think about black girls a lot. Black boys too. How they live and grow in a society that batters them before they turn 15. I watch whether they still stand erect as trees or not. Whether they have voice. Whether they remain rooted or not, in something stronger that whatever society throws their way. And society is out for them. I know this too well having grown in places that would rather we remain invisible than seen. Few care to dig in the night. I know. But when the possibilities of treasures like stars resides in them, why not dig. I choose to dig to see their light for myself. All they ways they bend and still stand. All they ways they speak, walk, confident in their words and stride. I choose to see because seeing is all we can do when society would rather they stay invisible. I hope to write one day letters that celebrate them, lift them up to, through the struggles, and still remain a fountain of joy for them. This is my prayer. That I too will keep seeing all black girls and boys, just as they are. Like the brilliance of the sun.

They were on the floor. All three brothers, head to head. Sister was in the room with her piano teacher Ms. Neva mastering the twinkling star, wondering what it was. I looked at the boys wondering why the floor. They rolled around and around, laughing and smiling away. Shining brightly too like rare diamonds on the ground. They twisted and turned, and twisted some more, oblivious to the dirt all around them, oblivious to the sounds of my pleas too. The ground was all they wanted. Getting up from it was all I wanted.

So I tried to pull them up from the ground, one by one. They all went back to the ground after each successful attempt. I kept pulling them away, trying not to lose my temper or my mind. I was afraid of the ground, afraid they would hurt themselves, afraid that they too would hurt the ground. The carpet was light brown. They are children, boys too. I hate dirt on carpets, on lightly colored ones, or any colorless one. They love dirt, big or bright, dark or small. Any that will make you curse under your breath. It’s the reason why we have no carpets in our home. We just removed the beige ones that came with the home we bought. The carpet lasted 20 years or so prior to our ownership. With us, my boys and their love for red volcanic experiments or any colorful merriment, it lasted 2 days.

Carpets aside, we are still in a pandemic. If you believe the virus is airborne, then chances are that no child should lay on the ground. Yet, my boys adored the ground. Laid on it too, like it was the finest of cottons. After my pleas to get up fell on deaf ears, I paused and looked at them, looked at the ground too with intent. I took in the moment, took in the laughter, took in the love fully on display. No wonder they were oblivious to my pleas. In life, we will pass through dirt, we may be on the ground too with dirt. Diamonds are all the time. But still, we can shine brightly even in the middle of all the dirt around us.

My boys taught me that, rolling and laughing on the ground. They call it black boy joy. I call it love. To see it on full display among boys oblivious to the dirt around them, oblivious to the ground, oblivious to the world, is breathtakingly magical. We need more love. Here, they are oblivious to the world. Here, they have defeated the world. Here, they have rolled away the ground. Here, they choose to listen to their laughter, listen to joyful sound. Here, they returned back to dirt, return back to earth. Here, they uncovered the beginning of knowledge. Here they use it to teach the power of love, the power of being loved. Here, they love, love and love, loves them too. Here, they love being together, laughing together too, even on the ground with dirt all around. Here, they love those around them, each other and that is all that matters. I will cherish this keep.

The four top stories on NPR this morning were on gun violence. Three of them were on police violence on minority lives, black lives, black men, a teen, Adam, who was only 13 and in 7th grade. Despite what they say, his last acts where his hands up in the air. Then in an instance he too became a name we add to the air. A familiar stance. We have been here before too and once again we say his name not for fame but because his life, like the lives of all God’s children mattered despite the trauma another mother, another family, another community encounters.

There is a virus that is spreading as fast as wildfire. The name is racism and the victims are minorities, black lives, black men, black boys in the hands of those sworn to protect them. It sickens me as a black mother. It keeps me hypervigilant even though my black boys are only babies. I see their smiles this morning, all three of them. I listen to their empty banter about food on the floor and whether it’s still safe to pick it up and eat. I watch as they play with each other, while eating and shudder for what tomorrow holds, whether their future would be whole. It’s the same helpless, restless thoughts that continues to consume and frighten every black mother I know raising black boys in America today. This virus has left all of us vulnerable, all of us helpless, all of us restless, all of us ready to become resilient, and all of us in desperate search of ways to usher healing from this vicarious racial trauma that inflicts its trauma in our lives in a continuous manner. Healing is the only thing that we want. Not because we can bring an end to exposures from racism or racial traumas but because we can and want to take ownership of the future we want for our children. One where they will be free to be and live as children, as boys, and men, with black lives that matter. Its an ambitious ask. I know. But we have to become bold for this transformative healing. It’s may also seem trivial our hope for healing but it’s the only thing that seems to matter so no mother feels a hole for their child who deserves to be whole. It’s my ask for today. Keep demanding for healing from this trauma for us by us.