The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
Black Kids Lives Matter
I’m a political button aficionado. I recently came across a button that struck my eye. It read “Black Kids’ Lives
Matter.” Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I promptly bought five of them — for other kid-lovin’ friends.
I thought about the slogan when I saw the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest report, “Race for Results: Building
a Path to Opportunity for All Children.” The report put African American children decisively at the bottom on the
heap of humanity. Using 12 indexes, Wisconsin had the biggest disparity between black and white children.
The huge well-being gap should’ve sounded the alarm except that basically the same data came out in the
Foundation’s 2014 report. Here we are again three years later.
The obstacles that Black children confront in this country can’t be told only through indexes although indicators
like poverty are too powerful to ignore. Our young and most vulnerable can’t escape the anti-blackness that is
rampant and destructive in this country.
Every day, I am observing the psychological and spiritual demise of our Black children. They are being beat
down before they even have a chance to grow and prosper. The sparkle evaporates from their little eyes. Their adorable smiles are replaced
with furrowed frowns. Their open hearts become calloused over time in the hostile and high-maintenance environment where racism lives.
The trauma is undeniable.
Black kids have become the canary in this moribund society. They are screaming for attention; they are fighting for their lives. Most times, it is
without sufficient adult support and compassion.
The air is being sucked right out of the lungs of Black children. Their futures are being compromised. I’d be interested to see what Wisconsin’s
plan is to make Black kids’ lives matter, what strategy Madison is willing to undertake that course-corrects before the next report. Wisconsin,
this is a fight you can win.