As protests continue around the world following the death of George Floyd, I knew I wanted to do more than just share images on social media, but I struggled to find my place and voice in the movement. As a strong black activist and mom, I felt heavy, again. My community was hurting from the loss of another black king. Unfortunately, racial injustice and police brutality of this kind is a familiar place for us, and with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, I felt guilty for having to abandon the fight on the frontlines of the protest to protect the safety and health of my family. I had to find new ways to safely support and participate in the movement to end racist policing from home.
Lend your Voice.
In the past week, I’ve engaged in much-needed conversations about systemic racism, privilege, and injustice with colleagues, friends, family, and even strangers. From one conversation, I was inspired to challenge the executive leaders at my job to write a statement to express empathy and show solidarity with employees of color. In response, the CEO wrote a passionate letter to the company that made me feel seen, supported, and safe. It is important to utilize our black voices to educate allies through conversations around anti-racism to validate our differences and address privilege. As mothers, we have to speak up and share messages to build a better future for our children so that they can learn and become leaders and confident, loving adults.
This is a great time to bring issues of racial injustice to the family table and help your children express support through creative activities. My 7-year old son decided to make cards to cheer up his classmates who may not be feeling happy from recent events that they do not fully understand. My friend, Sophia Fitzpatrick, encourages moms to educate their children by reading books, watching (appropriate) media, and discussing race and equity. She shared that moms should draw on their kid’s talents to support the movement, “Khalil is an artist, so I’m encouraging him to create using images that reflect his experiences and those of black people to celebrate us” she said.
Donate & Petition for Justice.
Moms can make a significant impact by exercising their right to vote and writing to their state and local legislators to demand criminal justice and police reform. If you are able, donate to community leaders and non-proift organizations that are committed to police reform to end discrimination in law enforcement and invest in community-led safety initiatives. Grassroots advocacy, donations, and honest dialogue allow moms to protest loudly and safely at home.
As I consider the months I’ve spent at home, I realize that my decision to support this protest against racial injustice will become the language and model for the behavior my children will one day emulate. It is for my daughter and son that I cannot be silent.