“I will see ya at the gun shop.”
These were the last words Lamard said to me as we parted ways on the 8th floor of Novant Hospital uptown.
Lamard, a tall, black, male with dreadlocks down his back and a grey hoodie pulled over his head, said this to me, a white guy holding my latte from Starbucks wearing my designer puffy vest. Most media sources would salivate over this encounter and manipulate racial tension mixed with gun violence, while only highlighting our differences.
However, like most of our life experiences, there is much more to our story than what is covered in the headlines.
At odd hours in the night, while our wives slept, Lamard and I would find ourselves roaming the hallways of the hospital with our newborn baby girls. We laughed as we talked about the “dad experience.”
On our last conversation together, we spoke openly about the burden we feel as dads to protect our daughters from a dangerous and cruel world. I told him that I hope our paths cross again and maybe our girls will end up going to school together.
As Lamard walked away, he smiled and said,” Our paths will cross again, but it will be at the gun shop to keep our daughters safe.” We both laughed, walked away, and I have not seen him since.
I wonder what is going through Lamard’s mind as he watches the most recent events in Charlotte? Probably the same as mine….We both just want a better future for our daughters.
There is something about holding a newborn baby that forces people to put our differences aside and consider how we can work together to foster a better future for our children.
There is hope that is birthed with every child.
When we hold a baby, we dream of a world better than the one we currently live in. In spite of the racial tension that currently fills our headlines, Lamard and I focused on our shared experience and both left committed to build a safer world for our daughters. In a chaotic time in our city, we need to remember that we share many common goals.
Social media and the headlines polarize us into silos of fear.
However, it is our shared experiences and ability to listen to each others’ stories which bring us together. Could we import more babies and just tell the national guard to stay home?