An open letter to Fredericka Gray, Freddie Gray’s twin sister – Kelundra Smith

Dear Fredericka,

When I heard the news of your twin brother’s murder in Baltimore I was not shocked. It seems as if we hear news of another young black man being murdered every other day, and your brother has become another statistic. Someday, 50 years from now, your brother’s life will be the subject of a thesis or dissertation about what life was like in this moment. You and I will both be old by then, and this moment will simply be a thing that happened.

When I heard the news about your twin brother, I was angry for you, because it is always us left standing. We, as black women, are always left behind to cry, scream, rally, protest, and be the face of a moment. We are always left to talk to the reporters and explain why not all black men are criminals and how life for us is unfair.  Thousands of people have taken to the streets on behalf of your brother under the umbrella that Black Lives Matter, but I can’t help but wonder what happens after curfew. When you retreat to your room in the home that you shared with your twin brother, I imagine your tears are innumerable.

You knew his secrets before he ever saw sunlight. You knew where he was ticklish before he felt touch.

It was you who shifted your body position to make sure that the umbilical cord would not wrap around his neck.

You inhaled his exhales before he created his own oxygen. Was he scared to come out? Did you push him into this world? Tell me, Fredericka. Tell the world so that they know.

I heard that sometimes twins can feel the sensation of each other’s pain. Is it true? Did the bullet hit you too? Were you choking when he took his last breath?

Now, it is you who is left standing– one half of your parents’ pride and joy. I wish that you did not have to know this feeling. You have been involuntarily handed the task of yelling in the streets, rallying at the courthouse, speaking at press conferences, and trying to convince the world that redemption is a right and not a privilege.

The road ahead of you is a long one, but as you walk it, I hope that your glass is not always half empty. I pray that your heart is not always half broken.


Someone with a black brother


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