*Not that the race of this kid is important. But I’ll bet you dollars to donuts we didn’t even think this kid was Black. I’m just glad the child is alive. I am talking about the 4-year-old boy who gained international attention (while his mother was scorned by millions on social media) after he fell 15-feet into the enclosure of Harambe, a 17-year-old, 450-pound silverback endangered species gorilla, who was fatally wounded in order to save the child’s life.
Though there were reports about the mother was wrestling with several other siblings at the time of her son’s fall — distracting her from his alleged pleas of wanting to go and play with the gorilla, no one knew her name or even what race she was.
She is 32-year-old Michelle Gregg, an African American woman. We heard her on the video trying to comfort her little boy as the massive animal dragged him by the seat of his pants across the moat. The child’s father, Deonne Dickerson, was not with the family.
Though my heart aches that Harambe had to be killed, I must admit my embarrassment at the nameless, faceless, yet judgmental voices on social media. It’s as if they are ignoring the fact that a child was saved and focusing more on the fact that Harambe was sacrificed.
There is something quite wrong about that.
Gregg could not stay silent amidst the uproar. So she posted a message in defense: “As a society, we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes of their child. And if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen.”
It’s doubtful that this will sit well with an angry public. In fact, more than 300,000 signatures are on an online petition calling for Gregg to be prosecuted and Justice for Harambe.
The woman who witnessed it all and shot the video footage that has since gone viral claims she heard the kid tell his mom he was going into the water with the gorilla.
“I heard the exchange while I’m waiting. ‘I’m going to go in.’ ‘No, you’re not.’ ‘I’m going to go in.’ ‘No, you’re not.’ The mother turns around to her other children,” CBS News quotes Kimberly O’Connor as saying.
But O’Connor is not one of the voices vilifying Gregg. In fact, she has come out in her defense and shown her compassion.
“They don’t know what the mother did what she didn’t do how panicked she was. They don’t know what that animal was going to do with that little boy or what he could have done.”
In the video below, we see Michelle Gregg lovingly serenading her son at his first birthday.
Rest in peace, Harambe.