My Tears Went Black Yesterday

I had to force myself to click on the link: Mother of a man fatally shot entering my own home speaks out. My first thought, “please don’t let this be another black man being killed.” My second thought was, the anguish and grief that mother must feel. How could things go so wrong that she should lose her son?

What’s really f##ked up, that my first worry was please don’t let it be another black man being killed. I feel like my first thought should be for the compassion of a grieving mother, or how do we provide the leadership and services for young people, so they don’t end up in the sights of law enforcement firearms.

I grew up in White Center, a small, impoverished area just outside of Seattle. Eventually, I taught at my old high school. I became Welcome Back Kotter. Aside from just loving the kids, my goal was to help them break out of poverty and a thuggish life, all colors, black through white. Sometimes there was real sh#t. I had gang leaders and members as students. And, I had to confront those gang leaders with a loving, but don’t you ever cross that line firmness, “don’t you ever bring a gun or conflicting gang violence into this school.” Yes, I’ve been threatened a few times, and yes that was scary shit. Just so you’re aware, white, Russian, Southeast Asian, and Samoan, all of which I had remarkable connections and a loving relationship with their communities.

I have tremendous respect for law enforcement and the difficulties they face every day so that I don’t have to. White Center lost a dear Sheriff to the violence. Man, was he one of the good ones. I don’t want to play polarizing politics with this issue. We’ve had more than our share where I live. I live in Seattle, and we lost a remarkable police chief, to a political crossfire between our mayor and our city Council. They played politics in a no-win situation instead of doing the right thing. So, our police chief left. She is one of the good ones too. She was making Seattle’s Police Department a better place. To protect and serve.

Turns out, none of my story matters.

And my first thought as I went to click on the link was, “please don’t let this be another black man being killed.” I clicked.

Tamala Payne lost her 23-year-old son, Casey Goodson. I watched the video even though I wanted to turn away. And I cried. I will keep looking through the tears and not away. And I read some of the newspaper reporting in the local Columbus area. It doesn’t add up. Or worse, it does.

Casey Goodson was black. And now again, so are my tears.


Paul Haury
Paul Haury
Belonging Coach & Evangelist for Heart-Based Leadership in Workplace Culture & Happiness. I’m a coach, a mentor, an optimist that nerds-out on all things in the social-behavioral and neurosciences for what motivates us in how we can be better, and, get us to with whom and where we belong. The paths that get us there follow roads of vulnerable togetherness, kind and honest challenges in personal accountability, and a deep curious appreciation for being wholly human in full potential. It’s here, where we land on the good side of our fears and aspirations, and make our dreams happen. We’ll never do anything as well, as when we’re doing what we’re doing with and for those we love. I help people create their own unique spaces to go farther and higher in their individual brilliance than they ever could alone.

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  1. Yeah Frank, I actually felt very sad. It was weird to post. I think I posted it so I wouldn’t “do nothing.” So, thanks for the comfort and encouragement man. Hope is not lost. It just got a punch in the nose. And you’re absolutely right, it’s not too late.

    Funny thing, a couple days after writing this, and not bothering my wife about it, she told me that I had to watch, A Most Beautiful Thing, a documentary on Netflix. It might’ve been the most well-timed and amazing documentary I’ve seen in years. I’ve already shared it with some key people I’m connected with in Seattle, in hopes that some new actions can be taken in continued hope.

    Here’s the link. if you’re interested.

    Thanks again Frank.

  2. Very sad article Paul. I lived in Seattle during the time you are writing about. I remember the issue with the police chief. When I grew up in the Buffalo, NY area, we had community policing. Officers “walked a beat,” they knew the people in the community and the community knew the officers. We had our issues, but the daily hands on approach by the police established a trust and confidence that we are all in this together. The first course of action was dialogue, not threats and not drawing a weapon by either side. It is not too late to return to this model or include trained social scientists to work with the police. Doing nothing keeps the status quo.