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What Do We Tell our Sons

BRv2GKbCUAAsBZULast night I attended a powerful discussion at the First AME in Los Angeles.  The discussion was on #WhatDoWeTellOurSons in response to the Trayvon Martin trial.  The discussion was moderated by Jaaye Person-Lynn, an attorney within the LA County Public Defenders office, and centered around how do we discuss pressing issues facing our young boys and young men.

LAPD Commander Scott fielded answers from both Jaaye and the audience on how our children should react in situations that are less than desirable.

The initial question of: #WhatDoWeTellOurSons when they are walking down the street and someone begins to follow them?  What do they do?  Commander Scott stated always get to a crowded, well-lit area.  Assess the situation.  Use common sense when wanting to defend yourself.

Another question centered around racial profiling.  Commander Scott stated boldly and clearly that the LAPD does not condone racial profiling nor does any law enforcement agency in the nation.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t rogue cops who do what they want.  Fortunately there is a complaint process and legal procedures to address those individuals.

Finally, the most poignant question came from the audience.  If this is a conversation about #WhatDoWeTellOurSons where were the young adults?  The panel discussed how the the event was promoted, and although many adults were present, the intent was to bring the information back to the young adults.

There are many community based organizations like B.L.O.O.M. , Climb Inc. and On a Mission, to name a few, that cater to keeping young men off the streets and out of gangs.  Perhaps field trips to these events would spark more dialogue amongst our youth.  Attending these forums/discussions to not only hear the message but more importantly, having them ask the questions of the panel.  Many of the organizations listed provide field trips to fun activities, maybe attending civic workshops is the next step?

Overall, the message is clear that more knowledge needs to be shared, throughout our communities, to teach our children how to interact not only with their peers, but also those who may be out to harm them.  How to interact with the police is also crucial because you just might fit that description they are looking for on that particular run-in.  What was also very refreshing was the number of professional black men taking time out of their Thursday night to educate not only those in attendance but to also make a positive impact on your child’s life.  My son didn’t initially want to attend, but, by the time we left, he was full of questions which encompassed our entire conversation home, about what he listened to.

Let’s keep up the discussion and lets spread the word to others.  The event was sponsored by prominent organizations the National Action Network-LA, the Black Women’s and Black Prosector’s Associations, the LA NAACP, Anthony Willoughby and Associates and Homegirl Catering provided light refreshments.  Another thank you to our hosts: Black Public Defenders Association, LA Urban League and the ACLU of Southern California.

To keep the conversation going, use hashtag #WhatDoWeTellOurSons on Twitter.  Our kids shouldn’t have to ask this question “Why ME?”


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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