Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 87 of Your Year to Wellness; Weighing In

Weighing In; the Killing of Trayvon Martin

I’ve been asked what I think but I’d like to tell you how I feel about this and other killings of young folks.

As all mothers do, I have always feared for the safety of my children. I have been overly sensitive to what can happen because of what has happened. My children could not do what many of their peers did. I feared for them when they went to the mall or simply walked in the fancy neighborhoods of their childhood friends. My son William, who played defensive line back was always more muscular and mature for his age. Kids at the private school he attended in La Jolla,California often wanted to prove that they were tough by taking him on. William was soft-spoken; a gentle giant who preferred talking  it out to fighting it out.
One day a young man from one of those “good “families challenged him, calling him all of the racial slurs I feared would be coming. I had been in Pittsburgh for an event, but as soon as I heard, I caught the next flight home to deal with the situation. I was pissed. I had worked hard to send my children to the schools I felt they needed and I had also tried to protect them from people who would reject and harm them on the basis of race, class or any other reason.
When I arrived at the school, I was greeted warmly by those in charge; “Good Morning Dr. Berry, we are so glad to see you.” The principal said.

I informed them that Dr. Berry could not make it, they were going to have to deal with a pissed off mother. After everyone clutched their pearls (even the men,) I explained to them why I was pissed. I told them what year it was and how we should have evolved. I told them that William’s bully had been harassing him and other kids in the past and that they knew because he told them. I told them that I worked hard to send him there and I expected better.
The boy had been suspended and the school decided that they could not take their standing in the community for granted. They recognized that they had work to do and set about doing it. They hired more diverse faculty and staff and openly dealt with race and bullying in forums and classes where attendance was mandatory.
When I share my fears about my children simply going to hang out to my friends some of them nod in agreement, but some have to admit that they had not even thought about the things that are the real and present fears of many parents.
In our great nation, racism, sexism, homophobia and violence against our children  are still real problems. I know for a fact that things have changed for the better, but I also know we still have some changing to do.
In my book, The Ties That Bind; A Memoire of Race Memory and Redemption, I wrote about the fact that in order to be whole, we must look honestly at our whole story. We must forgive and we must be forgiven.
"The only thing that can win over evil is learning and loving. So learn to love and strive to love, ‘cause babies, we ain’t got time for nothing else.”

Today, let’s act like adults. Let’s learn to move beyond the side that we want to sit on and stay on the side of right.
Each step we take towards change takes this nation in the direction it needs to go in.
I seriously believe that we must be the change we want to see. As with anything else, if we want things to be better, we have to change. We must do more than talk, we must act.

Today, smile at every child you see. Tell them something good about themselves, because they have  heard everything else already. Do something real and positive and stay focused on the truth that Love never fails.
Light a candle, say a prayer or see the hurt as healed. Remember the parents of children who have died. Think of their pain and loss.
And as a  parent who has lost a daughter to the madness of life, please stop asking what I think and  try to imagine how I feel.

Be well, be you, be Free
Bertice Berry, PhD.


  1. A child x
    I am a child of destiny trying to survive the onslaught of those who have made a decision to shorten my days. I have been machete in Rwanda; put into mass graves in Bosnia, blew up in buses in Israel and shot down in Palestine. For what crime have I committed, that violence is put upon my tiny shoulders to bear. In Northern Ireland there has been no peace, as those in authority have no humility for me. I am a child wanting to live my life but you destroyed my wishes in Oklahoma and on 9/11 you just devastated me with no regard. You’ve starved me and set me on fire from time to time and those who I thought would protect me molested my soul and me. I am a child with tears; my tiny heart does not understand why it is always me who receives the brunt assault of your indecisive manners. You’ve killed me across the world and you still continue your murderous ways, violating my civil rights. You care nothing for me as evil runs through your veins. From the beginning I have always been a tragedy and collateral damage is my name. A child I am whose mortality rate is always high. Malnutrition is an acquaintance of mine. I could go on and on yet I am drenched in shame for the way you treat me. My blood runs and no one cares no one seems to ever care.

  2. Love is powerful….and keeping family ties is essential to binding together siblings and your future through your children….. Keep and protect your future….your children are your link to tomorrow…. ES

  3. A child is a blessing from God to see one's child ripped sensilesly from a mother's bossom a father's loins is like a piercing knife. Not getting justice is adding assault to an injury, salt to an open wound and having the stabbing knife constantly turned and jerked without any healing moment. What happened to the first commandment "Love one another?" As a mother of 3 teens my heart is broken and it is bleeding for the untimely loss of a young life. My prayers continue for justice to be served.