Monday Blues and a Call to Action

July 15, 2013 5 Comments

This morning we came into the IISC Boston office ready for a two-hour staff meeting and a four-hour training. We sat down, looked around the table, and began with a question not about what was on the agenda, and instead about what was present in the room. The question was: How does the Zimmerman verdict affect us and our work at IISC?

The conversation was a mix of what we know, what we feel, and what is needed. We talked about our families, our children, and our work. Some of us shared that we’d been longing for a space to talk about the Trayvon Martin case all weekend and others of us talked about what it is like to work with and care about people for whom this kind of experience is so new that it evokes shock. Many of us, black and non black, talked about what it is like to raise our black sons. There was real pain in the room and deep longing by some for a place for our children to grow up free. For black boys and young men in particular to be able to just be.

We are frustrated by trying the same old ways to address this and we need to create structural change. Several of us were at the rally in Trayvon’s honor last night in Roxbury and left wanting more and new ways to come together. For some, this weekend’s events highlight ongoing and deep isolation within ourselves and between us – one person was left saddened that no one from their family reached out, and another noticed that their mother in Texas needed space to talk about the verdict. For others, it reaffirms bonds through trauma rather than strength and hope.

We made a decision right then that we were not going to do business as usual on this day. In formal race caucuses and informal conversations, we began to talk about what it would be like if young black boys in particular and young people of color in general knew that no matter where they went, they were SEEN, LOVED, AND SUPPORTED. We see this as a call to action. What do you think it will take? What do you think it will it look like when we get there?

We recognize the urgency and opportunity to respond collectively to this set of events in a way that truly builds toward the future that must emerge.

Tell us what you think in the comment box below!


  • Jen Willsea says:

    Please comment here with your thoughts — what will it take? what will it look like?

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Sad to have missed this moment with colleagues, and heavy hearted about the entire situation. Very aware of the gap in the discourse between those of us who see structural racism and those who don’t. Here is another powerful piece from Makani Themba Nixon at the Praxis Project. Check it out.

  • Miriam Messinger says:

    After watching one of the organizers of the sit-in in Tallahassee at the Florida state-house, I have a little more faith. When you see these young adults, how can you not love them and support their leadership? I am for doing all we can to raise the visibility of the many powerful young people of color in Boston doing incredible work already –and ask them if they are in need of more love, support, visibility, resources and/or something else they name.

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Consider joining a local dialogue on “What is to be done about persistent racism and judicial inequality?” 7/23/13 hosted by Network of Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity (NIAAS) and Center for Immigrant Organizing (CSIO). 5-8 pm at 89 South Street, 2nd floor, Boston.

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Another powerful post by New Black Men in Exile. ”

    A Statement on the Reclamation of All Black Life: For Trayvon, Marissa, & Jordan by Brothers Writing to Live”

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