As I started getting dressed for a Black Lives Matter march, my son asked if he could go with me. To be honest, I like keeping it as real as possible with my kids but for this one, I was torn.
Should I take him or leave his behind at home?
He’s a mature 13-year-old. He’s also the son of a dark skin Puerto Rican and black man. However, he is also my baby and all I could think about was his safety.
We all have seen the riots, the beatings, all the negative things in the media and that the government have been pushing.
But how about all the positive things protesting brings?
The positive things outweigh all the negative thoughts I had about marching with my son.
He wanted in, I wanted to educate him and that’s exactly what happened.
We focused on the positive side of Black Lives Matter march, the people that pushed the equality message “One Together, All Together!”
These marchers chanted for peace but also had the fortitude to stop actions against others who didn’t want us protesting. We saw that a few times but not as much as TV reports would have us think. We only had three instances where someone, got tough with us for no reason. They handled them with peace and love.
Marching for equality with my son and, eventually, my whole family will go down as one of the best choices I have ever made in life.
We were marching with over 1,000 Staten Islanders and our voices would be HEARD!
Equality was the premise of this Black Lives Matters march but — wow — did other lessons pour in. I didn’t even have to prompt my little man to discuss it. The energy of the crowd, the chants, the solidarity, all of that was taught through the crowds’ actions.
Should you march with your kids?
Calling for equality alongside people of all colors, ethnicities, social classes and more was enough to prove that I made the right decision.
If you want to take your kids to a protest or march, do it! The fears you have are real but, in my opinion, the chances of them occurring are slim to none. Don’t ever let fear stop you from doing what’s right in your heart.
You can never guarantee that everything goes right but that’s a risk we take every day leaving our homes. Instead, focus on making yourself comfortable:
- Find a protest march that’s happening during the daylight hours as I did.
- Don’t bring little children (under age 11 or so) or ones who tire easily. We only covered four miles in three hours and we were both exhausted.
- Come dressed to create change, not for a photo opp. Mask up!
- Most of all, come with an open mind. We did and we will never forget.
I was worried about bringing him with me due to his safety, that’s a big worry. However, not taking him would have been one of the biggest mistakes I ever did.
We came together, we marched together, we learned together.
Note: You can listen to more of James’ experience marching with his son on his podcast. Scroll to the end of that post to find it.