Miryom Levi's letter will be featured in the timely upcoming forum Five minutes 2 Ferguson and Black America. This forum will be on Sunday August 31st, 2014 8:15 EST, streaming live from A Faithful Life Youtube Channel. This program will be hosted by In the Wilderness TV
Below is Miryom B Levi's Open Letter to Michael Brown's Mother
The Signs of Deuteronomy 28
My Dear Sister McFadden:
Please allow me to first offer you my deepest, sincerest condolences on the tragic loss of your son, our son, Michael. I, too, am a mother of sons and daughters and I have lost some - some to drugs; some to self-denial;
Many lost their self-esteem, their place in the struggle, even lost their minds while living an imitation of life far worse than death! I heard what you said on the day they found you, I saw your reaction on TV about the tragic news. I heard when you asked anybody who would listen, “Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate?" I heard you, my sister.
I know what hurdles you had to jump, what obstacles you had to fight. What am I talking about, my sister? I’m talking about “us.” I speak of our experiences that mirror each other from state to state, town to town, country to country. I’m talking about how it is, how it’s been. Ever since this travesty showed up on your doorstep our folks have been talking. I desire to speak to you, can I have this dialogue with you? We need to have this conversation my sister, it may be a little bit different but it is about time. There are many truths about us that has not been told.
I want to talk about us, our family history from a long ways back all the way up til now. Born here in America, we have so much in common, so much we share alike. If I can I wanted to pause here for a moment because I feel the need to share something with you. You are probably wondering who am I, well let me introduce myself by sharing a piece of my story, after which I will sit intently while you tell me yours. I was born over 60 years ago in Suffolk, Virginia. Ever heard of it? Well, it’s a town just a stone’s throw away from Jamestown, Virginia, the settlement where the first slaves were dropped off from the Good Ship Jesus.
One day I was amongst a neighborhood group of kids, most of us were not older than ten years old. We would meet up at the corner of Beech Street on our way to our segregated school house. The trek to school was a long walk; we had to go clear across town. That morning we crossed the railroad track and cut through the fairground making our way up to Main Street. Now Main Street was where all the big stores were, they had big windows with displays showing off all the 'best' things life had to offer. As we continued on our way to school we finally turned the corner onto Lee Street, we were anxious to get to the schoolhouse that day and so we decided to take a shortcut through a dirt path.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, there appeared a little old lady in a gown toting a double-barrel shotgun, pointing it directly at us, yelling , “Niggas, you little niggas, get off my property or I’ll kill all of you!” She was pointing and coming at us. I heard a loud click. I sucked in my breath for what seemed a lifetime, but I know it was only a second because I could feel my feet carrying me, I ran as fast as I could run. We made it to school that day but i don't remember much because the rest of my day was a blur. The year was 1960 and to this day I cannot erase the image from my mind. It has carved an indelible scar on my heart.
What had I, a beautiful seven year old caramel-colored, bright-eyed doll baby (my grandma’s love) done to deserve that treatment? My friends didn’t talk about it, but that morning events stayed close within me. Something was different with me now. I carried with me a sense of an unwanting, an unknowing. I found myself watching less cartoons and more news. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, I was glued to the set. What had he done to deserve that harsh punishment?
By the year 1965 I had moved away from this town to go live with my family in a much larger city, a microcosm, New York. There, the scene from that day would replay itself in other ways, more subtle, but I never missed it. It showed up in lives of those I knew, in the stories I would read about. In the educational systems, the judicial systems, in the socio-economical systems. Ultimately, I’d see these horrible treatments coming from our own folks, playing out on the streets of the city, in the park, at home, especially when jobs were scarce and alcohol was plentiful. They had turned their experiences inward, as had I.
The results: SELF-HATRED, SELF-MUTILATION, ANNIHILATION and every schism in the book. You know what I’m talking about, sis? Something about us was different and that bothered folks. Why had that old woman been so mean-spirited to me? What had frightened her so much that she would take my life? Why did she hate me so? I had to know! I kept searching, inside and out. Where did we come from pre-slavery?
I traveled to West Africa. I wanted to fit in, but I didn’t know the language, I wasn’t familiar with the food, but still there was something familiar. I visited the slave forts and stood in the dungeons, and there it started to unfold. I cried and I cried. I cried for my kindred and I cried for myself. I was lost and afraid. Something in me died and at the same time “knowing” and feeling something new, my spirit within me came alive.
I was eighteen years old. You see what I’m saying here, sister? The picture is bigger than you and me and our sons and our daughters. It is bigger than life. Let’s dig deeper. Let’s find a truer understanding that reflects our true history and culture. Let us connect these dots once and for all. Let’s be willing to do the work, starting right from here; from the place of our pain and anguish.
What did we forget and when did we forget it and why are we in America anyway? What is the real story? (Tears in my eyes) Sister, please, tell me your story…
Miryom B. Levi