The death of Michael Brown reminded me of my students and the one moment this past year that left me mute; temporarily unable to respond and redirect them to the geometry lesson at hand.
They were talking about where they wanted to be buried.
At 15 and 16 years old, they were picking out cemetery plots, highlighting the pros and cons of one hometown cemetery over another. They went on to discuss where in the cemetery they wanted to be buried.
“…Along X street, where the black fence has the intricate design and the ground is raised, so I’d always look out over the city”
The everyday, casualness of the conversation stunned me as did the conversation’s content.
Cemetery plots are the future plans they carry, along with the college & career goals we talk about at school, along with the families and friends they have and hope to gain.
I want their dreams to be wrong. I want to reassure them that there’s no need to pick out cemetery plots, but I can’t. Not when a fellow classmate was murdered this year, not when Black and Brown youth their age are routinely murdered.