He asked for many things that day. For his breath, for his right to live, for mercy. And possibly his greatest request? He asked for his Mama.
“Mama. He called Mama....He has called up great power. I want all of us to turn, all of us who have heard Mama in a store and thought it meant us. It’s time to turn. White mamas, mamas with privilege, you have been summoned. And any of us who have ever cried out Mama, we hear it too, down in our bones. It’s a cry that can’t go unanswered anymore.” -Mary Helen Kennerly
So I ask, how many of the mamas (and daddies) out there will answer the call? Will you have the hard conversations? Will you teach kindness in the face of hate and selfishness?
To truly change the path all of our children will walk as they grow, we have to not only model how to be a good person, but explicitly tell them why we are doing the things we do. Telling our children that everyone is equal and uniquely special isn’t enough. We need to tell them why our bookshelves and toy boxes are filled with diversity. Why we surround ourselves with people who look like us, and people who don’t. Why someone’s outside doesn’t show you who they are on the inside.
We must tell our sons that they are deserving of the same successes as a woman, and it is their duty to make sure that she is expected to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them but never in their shadow.
We need to explain why we reach out our hand to those less fortunate, those with disabilities, those who are grieving, or those who have lost their way.
We need to tell and show our children how the outcome would have been different if we responded differently...or if we did nothing at all.
Mamas, if not us, then who? Will you stand with parents raising white children? With parents raising children of color? And with those of us who are raising both?
Change starts in each of our homes. It starts with the first breath your child takes, and occurs through every interaction and conversation they witness thereafter.
We need a powerful force to fight the ugliness in this world. The good news is that in order to find this force, we need to look no further than a mirror.
Because when it comes to hate vs. Mamas, my bet is on the Mamas every single time.