Editor’s disclosure: This piece was written prior to the events that took place on March 18 in which EBR Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Shawn Anderson was shot and killed by a suspect and is not a commentary on this or any specific incident in the news, rather a reflection from one mother to another.
I wish I could sit down with you over coffee and a cupcake and express how much more alike we are than different. I wish I could tell you how much I appreciate you and your family’s sacrifice. Then I wish I could have a moment of your time to express my heart to you, and have you hear me — really hear me — without assuming I stand on an opposite end from you.
You see the terms “bad cop” and “thug” exist in our world for a reason. There are people who fit the definition of both. I do not wish my husband to be termed as a thug because of the color of his skin any more than you wish yours to be termed a bad cop based on the outfit he wears for work. Just like yours my children say prayers that their daddy would return home safely every day. My children pray that if Daddy is stopped by the police they will see he is a good man and let him go on his way. My sons have fears of the dangers in this world just like yours. Please understand my daughter trusts in the safety and strength of her father just like yours. My husband gets up and works hard and gives of himself tirelessly to provide a stable and good life for his family. Just like yours.
To you dear sister I would hope you could see my family and my life the same way I attempt to see yours. I wish you could look into my heart and know our experiences have some differences but at the core our concerns, our causes do not oppose each other. We both want our men and our families to be safe. I do not wish to see your husband’s life snuffed out by crime, nor do I want to see my husband’s life lived in fear that failure to signal could be a death a sentence.
Together in the unity of motherhood and wifehood we could do so much good. We could teach our families that there are people who have to deal with fears and situations that we don’t. We could be advocates for change. Squashing falsehoods and exposing the real enemies, and understanding that your fight for peace and mine go hand in hand. So when your babies say prayers for their daddy tonight won’t you please have them include one for my kid’s dad too. Have them pray that both men would do right in the world and by each other. Have them hope both of them would get home safe to the people that love them.
These are the things I would say to you over coffee, if only we could meet. Perhaps someday we will.