"Mainstream society paints them as dangerous beasts and leaves no place for their pain. He is not given a shoulder to cry on or an army of loud-mouthed advocates screaming for his humanity. He must navigate a system that has been built to work against him."
Dear mom, أمي, مامان, مور, hooyo, maman,
I wanted to tell you that you’ve raised a beautiful son. He is gentle and kind. He treats me with respect and with an incredible tenderness I know he learned from your nurturing hands. He can cook fantastic food, gather us around a table, light a fire, start a dance, and keep your culture and legacy alive with story after story of the land he had to leave behind. I am always well-fed, protected, and with my brother at my side, I am the safest person in the world.
Sometimes he falters, sometimes he fails, but he finds the righteous path again because you taught him to move through life guided only by his moral compass and by a loving heart.
The world is a deceitful and cruel place for our beautiful boys. Mainstream society paints them as dangerous beasts and leaves no place for their pain. He is not given a shoulder to cry on or an army of loud-mouthed advocates screaming for his humanity. He must navigate a system that has been built to work against him.
Maybe you don’t know the extent of the horrors he endures because he puts on a brave face. He swallows all the pain of his reality so that you will smile, you’ll sleep at night, and so that you won’t worry... but I know you will. I know you do.
But do not worry too much.
I have seen him survive - even thrive - and when he’s reached admirable new heights I see him stop and humbly turn around to help those around him and those coming after him.
He has a network of sisters who are infuriated by his exclusion and who have the same fierce loyalty to him that he does to us. We enter the arena every day, waging invisible wars to gather funds, lawyers, advocates, and other necessities to try to make his journey to safety a seamless and successful one. It doesn’t always work, but I promise you, mama, we are trying. With all of the love we have. We will not stop fighting until we see justice or until we die trying.
“But what about the women and the children?” Yes, and what about the boys they love? What about the husbands, the brothers, the sons? Are they not human, too?
To all the mothers who mourn the losses of their sons in these senseless conflicts and sprawling diasporas... I will do my best to love them as purely as you do when I encounter them on this journey. I pray to every higher power that you know to be proud of them and that you know they are loved beyond measure.
Thank you for teaching them to be such beautiful men.