Life is a Video Game and Cops Have Cheated

“Life is a video game and cops have cheated” 

That’s what my 11 year old decided his sign would say. He laid down, stretched along the floor, and colored in the letters I outlined on a piece of cardboard. 


We’ve had some hard talks these days. It’s something else to have to drill this stuff into your child’s brain. I’ve always had to teach him to be ultra respectful to police. To make sure he’s not doing anything “suspicious” when he plays outside. To keep his hands visible and free and never reach for anything, ever. That’s his reality as an 11 year old black boy.

When I first told him about the protest in our city, he asked what it would do. We talked about how protests and riots led to the Civil Rights Act years so, and how recent ones have already led to charges being filed and investigations being reopened.


The protest was a long, hot walk at 3 in the afternoon but he held his sign proudly. The city councilman and some good citizens at a house we passed handed out water to those who needed it. My husband pushed a woman in a wheelchair who really wanted to participate but couldn’t go the whole way herself. My son was thrilled that lots of people asked to take a picture of him and his sign. 



Police officers lined the route we walked. They waved and he waved back. Bystanders stood by their houses in support.



We paused at the police station and took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Even the police knelt with us in solidarity. A minute or two in, my son said that his knee hurt. I asked him if he remembered why we were kneeling, and after a few somber seconds he said “this is a long time to hold someone down like that. I can’t even hold my breath this long.”

No, dear. George shouldn’t have had to either.  



We finished our march by walking back to our starting point where the organizers had food and drinks waiting. 

You learn about history in school and how protests and riots can incite change, but it’s something else to realize that you’re literally living the next revolution and that you can be a part of that. But it doesn’t stop with protesting. It means standing up when you see injustices happening in real life. It needs educating, not just blocking, people who don’t get it. It means voting so that we can see change in our government and the way our police and justice systems function. And it means examining ourselves to see where we can do better.



Everyone quotes Mr. Rogers where he says his mother taught him to “look for the helpers.” 

But don’t just look for them. 

BE the helpers. 

We walked back into the house, sweaty and exhausted. 

“Mom?” he says. 


“I kind of want to go to another protest now. Can you see if there are any more?”





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