See No Color :: The Birth ::

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My name is Tara Correll. I am a Wife, Mother, Social Activist + Empowerment Coach and Entrepreneur.

 I have two Moms, a Dad and a Brother, who for the last twenty years, has been incarcerated.  I once had a Sister that we adopted, her name was Tasha.  At age fourteen or fifteen, she ran away.  I never saw her again. Last year, I accidently stumbled upon her obituary while doing a google search. In February 2009 she died at Harborview, a trauma center in Seattle, reasons unknown.  Some of you may know my story, at least in part.  Before you delete this post please read on.  It’s my hope that it will lend itself to the framework of what I’m attempting to do; what I was put here to do. So if I’m as lucky and blessed as I think I am, you will read what follows and continue to follow me. There's a much bigger story to tell here.  As folks say, It is not all about me.

: the day my heart was broken :

It was a hot August day in summer 2006, a Sunday, sometime after 8 p.m., but before 9 o’clock.  I cannot for the life of me, remember the date.  But that really is irrelevant. Dane, Shane and I live in a Seattle neighborhood some consider to be affluent. We are lucky.

My husband Dane and I came home that evening after a summer day of concerts.  Shane had spent the day with our friends, playing water games, slip and slide, the stuff kids do, pure bliss.  He happened to be twelve or maybe thirteen.  While our neighbors to the north were vacationing, Shane had a two week job; responsibilities included retrieving mail and watering their tomato plants.  Twilight was approaching, I suggested to Dane that he take the Sunday Times and watch Shane while he tended to our neighbors yard.  Dane with the business section in hand, our son ready to tend to tomatoes, they headed off next door. 

While washing the dishes, I heard yelling- audible shouting, it’s unsettling, my God!  Did they walk in on someone trying to rob the house? I ran to the backyard, just off the kitchen; as I look up I realize there are two police officers – one has a gun with a red laser pointed at my son's forehead and flashlight shining in his eyes to disable him.  Shane paralyzed and trembling with watering wand in hand stood shivering over the tomato plants. 

Pleading with the officer to drop his gun, I see two in view.  The officer with his pistol directed at Shane’s head, demands to know who I am and where I live.  Clearly agitated, he explains that they are responding to a 911 call; two black men with black bags are believed to be robbing this house. I don’t see Dane anywhere.  Just a few feet away from Shane, the officer refuses to drop his weapon. I sprint up to our neighbor’s yard through the alley, as I approach the back yard, I see a man and woman- I recognize them, they’re our neighbors, who we’ve met on several occasions over the past three years. That day, they happened to forget. Running down the alley, the woman is yelling and apologizing, apparently she had placed the call that the police responded to.

The third officer appeared; young, female and Hispanic, all were clearly shaken; this may have not ended well and they knew it.  Our female neighbor was profusely apologetic. I just wanted to take my Son home.  Shane being understandably frightened had attempted to run to Dane, it was then that guns were drawn.  As long as I live I will never forget what the officer who had the business end of a gun aimed at my son’s head said, “young man, next time an officer asks you to halt, you better do it”.  Really? Is that what this life has in store for my son? Oh, did I mention that Dane and Shane happen to be Black?

THAT DAY WE WEREN'T LUCKY ::

Shane was just a boy...a child. He could have been someone else's son, but he happens to be ours. What transpired that day could have happened anywhere, in any town or inner city, in a “less desirable” place.  But it didn’t. What happened to us five years ago happens all the time. We were not exempt.  As humans we make assumptions + judgments, create labels and stereotypes based on race, heritage and skin color.  Much of it is stems from beliefs that are so deeply rooted and fear that is due to lack of education, spiritual foundation, understanding or love.  That day, my heart was broken.  As a Mother, how could I lend voice to this experience and morph it into something beautiful?  Somehow in a twisted way, it was a gift to me + a call to action.     

Five years later, See No Color is born.  www.SeeNoColor.org

Please share this, there’s more to come...Tara