Perspective from a Mother of an African American Young Man

by Scharlena Lewis, mother of Little Brother and Board Member Eric Lewis

In Exodus 20:13, it states, “Thou shalt NOT kill.” The last time I read it, I did NOT find thou shalt not kill whites (only)!

I read, “Thou shalt NOT kill.” Period.

Every time Eric is out of my sight, I wonder if he will be brutally attacked, arrested, or perhaps murdered, simply because of the color of his skin. Racism is still prevalent and COMMON today in 2020. Black men, and even women, have been lynched, tortured, beaten, and yes, even killed for hundreds of years. We live in a country that we built, went to war to defend, and continue to support our labor and our money. It is still such a CRUEL blow that we are not afforded the same dignity and respect of other citizens. It is indeed challenging to raise a young man to be respectful of a system that does NOT respect him or his people. But we have mastered the challenge with GOD’s guidance and the support of a loving village.

Being the spokesperson of a nationwide organization such as BBBS, Eric has spoken at City Council meetings, the Capital of Texas, Fortune 500 Companies, every news station in San Antonio, and even TBN. He’s spoken before political dignitaries, ecclesiastical dignitaries, and also at the White House. Eric is a polite, studious, mature young man. He is polished in his presentation. He is deliberate in his speech and manner. I have raised him to be a responsible, respectful, self-actualizing, confident young Black man. Unfortunately, none of his accomplishments exempt him from the cruel lash of racism. As recently as Monday night, one of his swimming students was asked by one of the adults if she knew him. She said, “Who, the Black coach?” I felt myself get anxious and angry at the thought that this is the set up for what is typically a form of negative conversation. That conversation also sparks anger about why he is not seen and appreciated for his character, intellect, maturity, or good citizenship.

We lift him up and show him his true place in his life. We applaud his every effort and celebrate every achievement. We show him the kindness and concern that humanity compels us to share. And he is growing, learning, and flourishing! As his mother, I am so proud, and I will continue to hold high expectations for my son on his journey to manhood. And I will continue to PRAY that “my son will make it home safe EVERY DAY of his life.”