A Mother’s Plea

Image.jpgWhen I was in the third grade, way back in the 80s, I won my first city-wide writing award. It was for a paper about Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. famous I Have a Dream Speech. I didn’t keep the paper, but I can imagine my rendition had something to do with how I wanted the world to give me an equal shot. Life experiences taught me very quickly that “equal” was a dream deferred for children of color in the United States.

I held out hope though that making good decisions and life choices, may bare equality for my future children. As my ninth mother’s day approaches my heart is heavy with the weight of reality that my children are NOT safe and still will not be treated equally. I’m also hit with the reality that this is an exclusive burden that mothers of color in this country share. But it’s one I hope all mothers can imagine to be absolutely heartbreaking!

You see, as I examine the world we live in, my reality is my children are NOT safe in school and I’m referring to disparities of expulsions particularly of African American boys. I’m sure the parents of the 12-year-old boy suspended in Ohio for staring at a female caucasian student understands. My children are NOT safe in their home and I’m referring to 7-year-old Aiyana Jones who was shot in her home and 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was gunned down in the park across the street from where he lived. My children are NOT safe in cars like 17-year-old Jordan Davis who was shot in a car because of loud music. My children are NOT safe to walk in their neighborhood, just think about Trayvon Martin. It’s NOT safe for my children to go shopping just think of Nordstrom Rack, where three black teens in Brentwood had police called on them while they shopped for prom. They are NOT even safe at college, just ask Yale graduate student Lolade Siyonbola who endured police questioning for sleeping in her dorm’s common area or my female assistant who had an officer pull his gun on her during a routine stop while in graduate school. They are NOT safe from civilians or law enforcement. They are NOT safe inside or outside. They simply are NOT safe.

I’ve never understood Dr. Martin Luther King’s plea that his “children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” more than I do on this very day. I wholeheartedly pray that our children will have unending Favor, Grace and Mercy and that they will be Blessings to others and be committed to carrying out their God given assignments without interruption from those that mean them harm. On this Mother’s Day, pray for your children and pray for mothers of color who carry this extremely heavy burden each and every day, including Mother’s Day.

 

Sincerely,

Chocolate Mother

 

 

Photos by Laura Saavedra

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She Fell Down, But She Got Up

With a social calendar as busy as my toddler daughter’s it is sometimes difficult to sit back and enjoy the moment. But a few weeks ago she celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with some of her Jack and Jill friends at a local skating rink. After a well-planned party full with a book reading, a civil right’s speaker, pizza and cake attendees had an opportunity to roller skate. Now at almost 4 years old, she has a pair of toddler skates and has practiced a few times on our bamboo floors, but we had never taken her to a skating rink. In fact, the few times she has tried to skate, she was fully strapped with elbow pads, knee pads and a helmet.

Without any of her safety equipment, I was leery, but I knew there was no way she was going to let her friends skate without giving it a go. So off to the skate rental booth we go. I’m unsure as to what size skates she wears and in an effort to get me out of line the attendee asks if I just want a pair of toddler skates. “Oh, you mean the one’s that just go over her shoes?” I ask. “Yes, that’s what I want.”

At first she wants to know how come hers doesn’t look like the older girl’s skates. But a quick explanation of them not having her size seems to suffice. I’m thrilled to learn from other mommies that I don’t need a pair to chaperone her in the middle of the rink; and off we go.

Well as soon as we get out there, this chick starts skating like a pro and I am amazed. She doesn’t want to hold my hand and she is excited at the secular big people’s music she gets to groove to while skating. She occasionally falls, but doesn’t hesitate to get back up, shake it off and keep skating. Not only is she unafraid, but she is fearless and having a ball.

For a moment, I think back to my younger roller skating days. I went just about every weekend and I loved it. Skating rinks were never fancy and apparently still aren’t, and although I had forgotten about how much fun they were, the parking lot tells me others are fully aware.

“You guys must go skating a lot,” one mother says as she admires Morgan’s ability. “No, this is her first time,” I reply. Truthfully, I am a little ashamed that I hadn’t tapped into her hidden roller skating talent before. I mean, how could I not know that she would skate well? I’ll tell you how, she’s still struggling with her steering ability and as smart as she is, she sometimes appears to be uncoordinated. She hasn’t asked to go skating despite a closet full of equipment and although she handles falls well, she’s obviously never been a fan.

But on this day, she is okay with falling, in fact she handles it like a champ and although I am proud of her skating I must admit I most proud of her tenacious spirit. Yes, Donnie McClurkin says it best “We fall down, but we get up” and on this day I am one proud momma of how quickly she shakes it off and takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. Keep getting up Morgan, no matter what….just keep getting up.

Roll Bounce