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Mother's Day Series: The Story of Veronica

Posted in 2017, Voices Tuesday, 02 May 2017

To celebrate Mother's Day that is coming up on May 14, we will be highlighting throughout this week the voices of mothers of incarcerated youth, whose unconditional love and support is often the only ray of light for children behind bars. Next week, we will feature messages that youth in prison wanted to send their moms/caregivers for Mother's Day. 

By Veronica Williams

It was early evening January 21st, 2014, when we received the call that our son was arrested for an offense that he committed at the age of 14. The offense was something unbeknownst to his father and I, until it was brought to our attention the year before 2013, when he was accused by a family member.  We thought how could something that happened when he was a child be put against him as an adult and no prior record of anything. Our son was in college working on a degree for sports medicine, working two jobs.  No mother or father wants to ever get that one call that their child is either raped, murdered or arrested. 

My son was given 4 years and life on the registry, as a sex offender at the young age of 21.  The collateral damage has been most devastating to us as we try to maneuver the legal ramifications and understand the judicial process. We feel our son was treated unfairly, his innocence was not heard and he was tried convicted and sentence. We battle a system that is so broken that if not fixed it will have irrefutable damage. The damage that it causes family is not describable. The only way to get through it in our opinion was to get involved and turn a negative into a positive and not become bitter or hateful. We struggle everyday with the ramifications that he will be on the registry and the stigma that goes along with that and to bear it, is detrimental not only to our son but also to the family as we are now labeled so to speak as an outcast.  We stand up to seek this change and hope one day he will be taken off. He is not this monster that society wants to label him as. 

 I am not here to speak about race or racism, I am here to say we need change, we are the change that we need to see, it starts with me, with you, with us and we are the change that we need to become. First, I speak as a mother, specifically as a Black mother. I am saddened as we sit in fear for our Black and Brown children. One of my many friends that I have come to know, Law Professor, Catherine Carpenter in one of her recent articles Throwaway Children: The Tragic Consequences of a False Narrative, she states, "we have become afraid of our children and we are afraid for our children," In my opinion even ourselves. 

This back lash of racial divide has to stop, we are all human beings and to understand humanity we must have and find humility. The injustices are clearly in front of us we must make it right. We are the change right now, let's continue to speak up and uphold beliefs of moral consciousness and character through action. Spread love and treat all with with human dignity. We can stop this wrongness and start by changing the way police are trained, change how children are treated with solitary confinement and given life sentences w/o parole, change how children are shackled in court rooms, change mass incarceration to education, change laws on how to amend sex registration laws and know who are real violent perpetrators and who are not, especially for our children and young adults. Let's stop schools from a pipe line to prison to a pathway to education  not prison nation. 

Everyone deserves a second chance, then somehow we will have less violence and criminalization, less wrongful convictions. We can together not divided make a difference. Let's keep the conversations alive, be kind, be respectful, and most of all let us love one another one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. A house divided will fall we can no longer be divided or we will continue in this chaotic state of chaos.