Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Carry On

Today, I spent an elightened afternoon with a group of women with whom I feel I have a deep connection: wanting the best upbringing for our children of color. The mothers of Jack and Jill of America's Santa Clarita/Antelope Valley chapter welcomed me, and several other moms, with open arms to a Prospective Members Tea. The ladies were clad in summertime tea dresses and some donned widebrimmed hats. We nibbled on scones and other tasties while sipping tea. But there was a lofty goal ever present in the house.

Before today, I had a small notion of why I would want to pursue membership -- comraderie with other black families, my children knowing they are not the "only ones" in the neighborhood or the classroom. But talking with the women today gave me a deeper understanding of why these types of organizations exist -- they know what it's like to have a daughter reject, with fury, the brown American Girl dolls in the middle of the aisle because they'd rather own the white one; they've experienced a tug of the heart when their children's faces light up at the sight of black children clustered at the park; and they understand what it is to nearly hunt down the only other black person in the supermarket just to have black families as friends in the undiverse suburbs.

These experiences were echoed over and again as these mothers shared why they joined the organization. And I felt like a human bobblehead doll with all the nodding I was doing. As various women shared their stories, and as I made my way around the room talking to each one, I felt like I was speaking to several versions of myself. I was unashamed to have these experiences or the feelings they produced. And the encounters solidified my reasons for attending.

I feel so fortunate to live in a community and have access to likeminded mothers. It feels great knowing my circumstances are not unique. I thank the mothers who had the audacity to birth this group. I can only wonder how my children will benefit from it and the limitless impact it will make on their lives.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mom On A Mission

I am finding lately that I am yearning for culture -- but more specifically Black culture, exposure for my children, little brown friends for them to mirror. Why? Well, my oldest son reported to me the other day that there weren't many Black friends at his school, a fact I already knew and hoped he would miraculously overlook. Foolish, I know. I mean, my daughter had already gone through the wanting "yellow hair" stage and shunning the brown American Girl right in the middle of the shop (simultaneously ripping my heart out and bringing me close to tears). So, expecting my son to somehow not notice he's one of a handful of chocolate chips in the cookie was being hopeful.

So, now I find myself on a mission: I am hoping for an invitation to join Jack and Jill of America, a Black family organization started back in 1938 by a mom and her friends who wanted their children to experience the same advantages as other children; I have started the process to start a local chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc., an organization created to support stay-at-home mothers of color. My interest in both these groups has me speaking to every Black mom I see in grocery stores and parks, outside the kids' schools and around every cul-de-sac. And I'm normally a shy person, so you should see me go!

I simply want my children to not feel like the minority for ONCE. I really wish for them to not notice color -- this is a perfect world -- but unfortunately, others do. So, I'll continue to teach them to love others regardless of race. But, at the same time, I'll continue to seek out the children who are living the same journey.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's been a while...

It's been a minute but I just have to jump back in by saying how truly over the moon I am about the election of our 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama! I have not, nor do I ever think I will tire of this fact -- that the leader of our nation looks like me! And if I feel this way as an adult, imagine what our children must be thinking. It proves that the thinking of America is shifting, that the ways of old are changing and that our tomorrow is much different than ever before.

When I first started this blog two years ago, I had no idea this day would arrive. I was consumed with the experiences of my beautiful brown children -- that they had been discriminated against and made to feel shameful about their ethnic features killed me. That my daughter cried because her hair wasn't long and "yellow" tore me apart. That my son was told he had "garbage skin" made my blood boil.

But in November 2008, the presidential election gave new meaning to thebrownmommy. My children now are inundated with media images showing a powerful, dynamic, loving BROWN family and have yet one more example of people they can strive to be. Michelle Obama has even given me new hope as a brown mother and I am thankful she and her family shatter stereotypes so long held of the African-American community.

It's amazing. I'm in awe. And I'm so glad to be me!