Tiffiny Dixon is an activist and mother to a 4-year-old son she describes as bursting with energy... a real go-getter who literally leaps out of bed each morning with a smile on his face ready to embrace the world .
But Dixon worries. Where she sees simply hope for the future, she fears others will one day see a future threat. She wonders at what point her son will "stop being cute" and start being perceived as dangerous by others. And she worries some of those "others" may carry a gun and a badge.
"I'm upset sometimes when I look at him because... how can I protect him in this world? There is no blueprint on how to raise a young Black man here," says Dixon. "There isn't a list of these are the things you need to do before you walk out of the house so you can come back home to mommy."
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As protests erupted across the country this summer following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black men and women at the hands of police, Dixon says the combined weight of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial unrest threatened to unravel her.
"Here I am for the past three months fighting to keep myself and my little boy alive and then you look on the news and you see that we're still being slaughtered," says Dixon. "And when I heard George Floyd yell out for his mom, my thinking was I'm not gonna sit here and fatten up sheep and send him out into the world so that 10 years from now he can be a target too. The fight back starts now because he is a target his life is at risk."
As part of her plan to "fight back," Dixon has taken to bringing her son along with her to community protests. She said needed a release for all the emotions she's been bottling up and she needed her son, even at the age of four, to be aware of what was going on around him.
"It became increasingly important to me for him to see not just us being victims and a vision of himself on the ground, but I wanted him to see and feel the power of what it means to fight back and what it means when we say 'I'm Black and I'm proud.'"
Dixon adds, "It's not about my life. I'm not out there for my life. I'm out there for his life."