Dear Black Moms,
I’m thinking of you right now, and you’ve been on my mind every single day since George Floyd was murdered. I heard George cry out for his mama as his last breathes were stolen from a system that was supposed to protect him. I cried an ugly cry that quickly turned to anger and disgust. And then, almost in an instant, I thought about you. I thought about how my feelings must only be a sliver of what you feel when these murders happen over and over.
Perhaps this is why there are so many strong Black women in this world? You all have to raise kids to be aware of the racial injustice that surrounds them, and you have to be strong for everyone. I will never have to tell my son to take off his hoodie when he’s out for a run or walking at night. I won’t have to train my white child to put his hands on the steering wheel and ask for permission to retrieve his license when he is of driving age. And I don’t have to explain to my kids that some people may judge them for the color of their skin. And you mama….you have to think about that all the time, I’m sure.
Last night I laid in bed tossing and turning praying for wisdom on what to do and how to help. Honestly, sometimes the problem just feels so big because it is systemic and so ingrained in our culture. But the size of the problem cannot stop me from making steps every day towards a better future. Today I make promises to you-mother to mother.
I promise to raise white children that understand their privilege and are actively anti-racist. Yes, there will be talks about race, but I will lead by example and point out our white privilege so they can learn in the moment. I will show my children how you shut down a racist joke or correct someone when they speak with “light racism.” I will teach them to listen to your black children and not talk over them or pretend to know how they feel in any situation. I will teach my children to see color and embrace diversity. They will learn to ask questions and be curious about your child’s experience.
I won’t stop with my family. I live in a predominantly white community, and I vow to effect change in my community whenever possible. I won’t stay silent, and better yet, I will be a vocal warrior for justice. I will say what is unpopular if it needs to be said, and I will make my community a place you feel welcome and safe. I will use my privilege to make this world a better place for your children because any change I can do is a step in the right direction.
Mama, please know that I will fight for your babies in any way I can. Your baby is my baby, and your fight is my fight. You must be tired from carrying the weight of racial inequality on your shoulders, and although I can’t take that heaviness away, I will walk alongside you and help you carry it. We will walk through this dark, scary world together, and you forever have an ally and a sister in me.