One Missouri mom's powerful Facebook post is igniting conversation among parents after she questioned what will happen in the future when her toddler son grows up a black male, in wake of Alton Sterling's death in Louisiana last week.
Monica Johnson, 33, of St. Louis, said she shared the entry on July 7 in hopes to shift the public's thinking and perception of black individuals in this country.
"My reason for sharing it is more so that for parents of white children, this would become real to them," Johnson told ABC News today. "White or black, moms can relate. We have the same love for our kids. I hope somehow this can help them look inward, seeing that we have these prejudices and it's easy to project them on adults, but when you're looking at [violence] from the perspective of a mom, it made me think, 'This was someone's child. This was someone's baby at some point. This could've been my baby.'"
"[My son] is the happiest, most social baby I've ever met," she added. "He talks to everyone. He smiles at everyone. He's everybody's baby and at some point, that will change. It will change for every child, of course, but at some point, Kai is going to experience something that's not based on him being that happy, smiley baby. He's going to experience a shift. All my kids will, and have -- a difference in the way people respond to him, in the way they're viewed. For white parents, their child most likely will not need a post written about them to defend their value."
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On the day of Alton Sterling's death in a police-involved shooting, Johnson, a hair stylist, was working at her salon when conversation sparked about the shooting.
"They were kind of spewing this hatred and this misunderstanding of what they felt was happening," Johnson recalled. "A large group of people that were saying this are people that love my kids. For some reason, there was an exception of my kids because they are small. It infuriated me. There was such a huge disconnect with white people and with the pain that the black community is feeling after this."
Johnson is a mom of four children who are biracial. Her youngest son, Kai, 2, was the subject of her Facebook post, which read in part:
"I'm so cute now. Everyone comments on my beautiful skin, my adorable curls. But I ask you this -- what about when I'm 25, and my skin gets darker, my curls get tighter...I'm wearing baggy pants, maybe a hoodie or a baseball cap...will you lock your car doors when I cross the street? Will you embrace and welcome me when I'm a full grown black man? Will you value my life the same way you value my white Mom's? Or like my Dad's...my black daddy who gets pulled over for "following too closely" (at a stoplight) or for doing 3 miles over the speed limit.
Johnson continued: "Will you smile and take my ID and insurance card like my Mom? Or will you ask if I have warrants before even asking for my license, like my Dad?...Think about the human beings you are judging. Think about them being someone's sweet baby, someone's big brother, someone's nephew or niece. This is not about just Police. This is about all of us and how we shape our opinions and views of the world and its people. Our children are watching."
Johnson said her sister convinced her to share what she penned on Facebook after it was typed out as a journal entry.
The post was shared over 550 times and Johnson began sharing her story with media outlets.
"White moms were able to understand in a way they wouldn't be able to understand if I weren't white," Johnson said. "I'm using that now to get my message across. Even though it wasn't intended to be shared, it's out there now and now that it's out there, I would love for it to help us pay attention to the thoughts we're having. When you see a grown black man, do you feel what you feel when you see a white man? I just want our thinking to shift."