I was in my living room sitting with my children, when the verdict was announced.  I let out a gasp as the tears began to fall.  I couldn’t imagine the pain that Trayvon Martin‘s parents were feeling.  But as a mother, the fear for the lives of my own boys set in.  My initial thoughts were, ” how am I suppose to protect my boys from this cruel world?”  Can the rest of the world see the innocence of my son’s that I see when I look into their eyes?  Essence Magazine has launched a campaign so that we as mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts can affirm the innocence of our children and counter the stereotypes.


Message from Essence Magazine:

Starting Tuesday, July 16, we’re launching #HeIsNotASuspect, a counter-stereotyping campaign designed to challenge negative images of young African American men.

We’re inviting readers to post on Instagram and Facebook photos of themselves and a young Black man they care about—a son, brother, nephew, cousin, neighbor or grandson—with a few words explaining why he’s so much more than a stereotype, using the hashtag#HeIsNotASuspect.

For example: “This is me with my brilliant son Christopher. He’s a freshman in high school who wants to be an architect. He loves to draw and play soccer. #HeIsNotASuspect”

This kind of affirmation is a simple yet proven approach to counter the dangerous stereotypes that put our children at risk. “Discrimination reflects the cultural messages that people are getting, so we need to alter those messages at the source,” says Dr. David Williams, Ph.D., professor of public health, African American studies and sociology at Harvard University. At ESSENCE we believe we can change the message. We can move a nation steeped in racial stereotypes about Black boys to learn the truth of who our sons really are.

For more information visit Essence Magazine Online