One of my five fearfully and wonderfully made daughters turned 6 today. She's is such a lover of her family. Of all my children, Jubilee will likely grow into the one who throws the best parties and family gatherings; her name fits so well.
She especially loves her next in line sister. They eat together -oatmeal at the crack of dawn before their other 6 siblings are awake often. They sleep together, play together, and travel together. They're inseparable.
The little I [should not even have to] know of #NiaWilson and her sister Letifah just broke me down looking through my phone for a picture to post of my daughter on her birthday.
Sunday evening at the Oakland BART station, Nia and Letifah were attacked as they awaited a transfer train. Known white supremacist John Calwell viciously ambushed them, slitting the throat of 18-year-old Nia, and stabbing Letifah in hers.
Nia didn't make it. Letifah, survived to tell about the assault:
“I looked back, and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked — and from there on, I was just caring for my sister. I was in shock. ... I didn’t know I was cut because I was paying more attention to my sister. But he just stood there, like it was nothing.”
Nia Wilson. 18
As the Washington Post reports, the Wilson sisters didn’t normally ride the BART train, but opted to take it that night on the way home from a family gathering.
Bringing it home
The sad reality is that in 2018, amid all the freedoms enjoyed in these American States we call United, it is yet and still dangerous to be black. The reality is, often as a male or female it's double trouble. To be a black man or a black woman, even in the largest cities on the West Coast, is high-risk and hazardous. I am painfully and eerily aware of this as I sit and soak in the news of the attack on the Wilson sisters, and continue to deal with the consequence(s) of refusing to allow Brooklyn (our 16 1/2 year old) to ride the train to North Long Beach from Ventura last Saturday.
We'd planned for a month to have one of Brook's friends come up for the weekend, since she hadn't seen her in almost a year. Only to find out Friday night that she cant ride the train alone, as planned, until she's 16 -like a week from now. The natural next step for the girls, and Brooklyn's friends' parents was "well let's just have Brooklyn take the train here." No brainer right?! Quite the opposite.
Brooklyn, her mother, and I
Anyone in my house will tell you; before there was the Wilson sisters, or the revelation of a John Calwell lurking at California public trans stations, I had to look my daughter in her eyes and tell her it's not safe for her to travel unaccompanied, even though her European American friend's parents were eager to put their 15 year old daughter on the [same] train. As you can imagine this was no small thing in our home. I almost caved twice, but couldn't stomach the idea so took one for the team and was the bad guy.
Am I wrong? I'm not certain that I am. I've been told that I shouldn't live in fear; but as I've told my daughter from the early days of her desire to play in the street as a toddler, "fear is not a bad motivator if there's something to be afraid of.” I'm not the bad guy, John Calwell is.
With her hand around her neck, Letifah told her sister "We're gonna get through this, I got you, you're my baby sister."
It's hard to look at Jubilee in that same position today, clutching Mercy, as if to say "I got you, you're my baby sister..."
Equally hard will be looking Brooklyn in the eyes when she gets home from summer school and reads this, knowing that The Proud Boys, not seemingly in coincidence, had planned a rally in Oakland last weekend... just one week after their violent rally in Los Angeles. Not far from the Ventura-to-Long Beach connecting train station.
I know God has heard my cry for help
But God is still able to strengthen me as I inevitably have to do so. He knows I’m weak. He only calls me to trust Him. Contrary to the comments I’ve heard, I cannot just get over it. But I, Letifah, and the other Wilson’s who’d just left the family gathering only to find out that the life of the party had tragically just lost hers, can get through it with God’s help.
In the 2016 “Unarmed and Dangerous” blog I wrote I confessed that I needed prayer and I needed help. God was kind to encourage and assure me that He’d heard and was answering my prayers after the post landed on The Gospel Coalition’s website as a trending topic and was ultimately shared tens of thousands of times.
I dont know that this letter will make it past your sight, but I know God has heard my cry for help yet again, please pray for me -and my girls.