While walking home recently on a quiet residential block in Center City, 10 young, African American boys on bikes rode past. I thought nothing of it until two minutes later, when I was on the ground, with a bike on top of me, and a little boy looking as terrified as me trying to steal my belongings, fists raised.
I am 31 years old and five months' pregnant with my first child. My husband and I are proud to raise our family in the diverse culture of the city, and have always stood against racial profiling. Over the past few months, our beliefs had been reinforced in light of the tragic situation involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. But as I am about to become a first-time mom, I am questioning so many of my beliefs.
I'm not angry at the mugger; not even really scared. I'm just sad - sad that I'm about to raise a baby among people who would hurt a pregnant woman. I'm sad that I don't know how to teach my child that stereotypes aren't real, when something like this happens. I'm sad that, in such a diverse city, the disparities of class and race are widening, not shrinking. And I'm most sad for the boy who knocked me over (and his friends who just stood there.) With so much anger, so much hate, and a propensity to commit violence against me (and my giant belly), what direction is his life heading?
Jennifer Lyons, Philadelphia
Following is a video of the attack provided by the Police Department.