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The One Blog Entry I Never Wanted To Write

It's not the natural order of things for a parent to bury a child.

-- My dad.

Everybody is somebody's child.

-- My mom.

While other kids were learning their colors and numbers, as a four-year old, my mother made me memorize my home address, phone number, and my parents' names just in case something happened to me and some adult wanted to help me. Like most parents, she hoped that if something happened to me, somebody would realize that I "belonged" to somebody and would help me. That somebody would show some compassion and not take advantage of a child, her child. She wanted me to be able to help whoever was going to help me get home. Naively, she believed that were I to be lost, somebody would help me just because I was somebody's child.

Perhaps that's too much to hope for in the new millennium.

I'll admit -- I've been avoiding writing this blog entry.

I took time off to prepare for a barbecue Black Man Not Blogging and I were giving for some dear, close friends on Saturday. I immersed myself in yard work, house work, and rib rub (prepping the ribs, that is). All plausibly good excuses to avoid writing this blog entry, to write words I never wanted to accept.

On Friday, the family of 24 year-old Mitrice Richardson held a memorial service for her. After months of searching for her after her release from police custody in Malibu, Mitrice's remains were found near a marijuana grove in Malibu Canyon.

I had hoped she would return home. I had been incensed by the fact that, but for her mother and stepfather, the initial press coverage of her disappearance would have been faint, if at all. Incensed that when brown-eyed, brown skinned women go missing, no one seems to notice as much. Incensed when Matt Lauer called her parents by their first names and asked whether Mitrice was "street smart." I had hoped, perhaps unrealistically, for a Jaycee Dugard-like homecoming for Mitrice, without all the weirdness of the Garridos.

I had hoped for too much.

And I am still incensed that a young woman could be released from police custody into the night alone when she had shown signs of mental distress. Her mother, Latice Sutton, had been assured she would remain safe in custody until the morning. I am incensed that sheriff's deputies didn't call her mother when she was released into the night, like she was nobody.

It is not the natural order of things for a parent to bury a child. I never met Mitrice, never met her family, but I didn't have to to know that she was somebody's daughter, somebody's loved one. Someone who was loved by someone, missed by someone, belonged to someone. Someone who deserved more than being released in the dead of night by herself with no way home. Someone who deserved to have some person with an iota of compassion take time and intervene, not because Mitrice was special, but simply because she was somebody's child who was not in a position to help herself. I wonder if the deputies on duty that night would have sent the daughter of someone they knew into the night without a way home or someone to get them. Somehow I doubt it.

Please keep Mitrice's family in your prayers.

NB: Thanks to the Malibu Surfside News for keeping the search for Mitrice in the news.

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