I am sick and tired of being sick and tired….

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I struggled with writing this post; but I had to speak out after the Travon Martin trial.

A young military wife, in 1963, with two toddlers, sitting in our cramped living room, watching the March on Washington, listening to Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech; and, realizing, his dream was the “dream” I wanted for my son and daughter.

I HAVE A DREAM that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true

meaning of its creed:  We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all mean are created equal.

I HAVE A DREAM that my four little children will one day live in a

nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by

the content of their character.”

Back then, I was hopeful and optimistic that a change was gonna come.  Today, fifty years later, I am disappointed and pessimistic wondering how long is it gonna take.”

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired[1]of the racial injustices where people continue to be Judged by the Color of their Skin.”    

Emmett Till

I lived in FEAR throughout most of my teenage years.  Though, only 13-years-old, even today, I vividly recall the murder of Emmett Till on August 28, 1955.  He was a 14-year-old African-American male, from Chicago, visiting his grandfather in Mississippi.  Two white men decided to end Emmett’s life.  Why, because he either, whistled at, flirted with, or touched the hands, of a white cashier at a grocery store.

Brutally beaten, mutilated, shot in the head; his young body was tied up with barbed wired and dumped in the river.  Despite overwhelming evidence, on September 23, 1955 his two assailants were acquitted.   The Jim Crow Laws allowed Emmett to be “Judged by the Color His Skin.” 

With the exception of gender, Emmett’s life pretty much mirrored mine.  I, too, lived in Chicago and visited my grandparents in Mississippi every summer.   During those visits, they schooled me on what was acceptable behavior for a young black girl in Mississippi.  On the first day of my visit, they reminded me to “say yes mam, no mam, look down, speak quietly, never question or talk back to white folks.  They don’t play here you ain’t in Chicago.”

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Travon Martin

On February 26, 2011, this seventeen-year-old boy was shot and killed at about 7:00 p.m. while walking home on a rainy night in the gated community where he was visiting his father.   Killed because “HE WAS JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN,” Mr. Zimmerman assumed an African-American male teenager, wearing a hoodie was a thug; and, therefore, a threat to him and others who lived in this gated community.

Loud voices cried out for justice and after some 45 days he was finally charged.  A jury trial resulted in a Not Guilty verdict.   Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, Mr. Zimmerman had the right to shoot rather than retreat.

As the grandmother of three young African American males, ranging in age from 13-24, I identify with what happened to Travon.  Living in a gated community, about 20 miles from where Travon was killed, we now have “safety guidelines” for our three grandsons to follow when they visit.  I am frustrated that my grandchildren are forced to deal with the FEAR of DEATH because someone

  • Chooses to  Judge by the Color of  Skin; and
  • Understands the protection afforded under the Stand Your Ground Laws.

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Like Jim Crow, Stand Your Ground Must Go

“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired”


[1] Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Activist

7 thoughts on “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired….

  1. Yvonne, your post is written from the heart with passion. You should find a way to make a short video, I think you can do it with your iPad, and put it on YouTube. You never know what might effect change in this world. Love you sister-grandma!

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  2. On Reason and Passion
    Kahlil Gibran
    Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
    Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
    But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

    Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
    For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
    Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
    And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

    I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
    Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

    Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows — then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”

    And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky — then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”

    And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

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  3. Thank you Mrs Thomas for your powerful testimony!
    …and I understand how you want to protect your grandsons when they come to visit.
    I felt that way so many times raising my son…that he might not be safe when he walked out our doors.

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  4. I know getting rid of that law won’t change the pain of all of this, but it’s got to happen and it’s at least a step. I’m not a mother or grandmother, but what you have written helped me to be one, just for these few moments, and it helped me see again (as did re-reading that part of MLK’s speech) what we (white people) go around choosing not to see most of the time and to feel it and be sick of it. That was a gift. Thank you.

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