Dion McIntosh, 14, looks out from his home’s back porch during a brief rainstorm. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)
Editor’s Note: As journalists, we spend a lot of time talking with officials and community members and distilling it into stories that explore important issues of our time. But we realize that sometimes it is just more powerful to hear it straight from the source. This is one of those times. The essay is a special feature timed for Mother’s Day and the Brown Mamas Monologues* happening May 12.
For as long as I can remember, my son Dion has wanted to be a football player and a policeman (and a pizza maker and a race car driver).His love for football was divinely deposited in him; if I hadn’t been there, I would believe he’d been born with a football in his arms.His desire to be a police officer, however, was born later. I believe his interest stems from when he learned that his father’s murder had never been solved. The unsolved murders of two first cousins and numerous family friends only made his desire to be a police officer, an agent of change, a protector for his family and community, stronger and stronger. Even amid discouragement from close family members and friends, he held on to his plans to become a policeman.
Recently though, when I sat him and his brother down to discuss the senseless killings by police officers of Black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, I realized something had changed. His desire to be a policeman had disappeared.