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The Love of Parents PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jenni Person, BT Contributor   
July 2020

The talk, the worry, their pride and joy

APix_FamilyMatters_7-20t this moment of needed paradigm shift, this column aims to center Black lives and voices that are too frequently absent in our media -- both the trauma and the triumphs. In this case, as a parenting column, we elevate Black and Brown lives, asking parents to celebrate their parenthood and their kids. Here’s a small sample of their love.

 

Violet Camacho, parent of 15-year-old twins.  

“The two humans I’ve parented are the face of the future in terms of love and inclusion. They’ve always excelled in school, and I have nothing to do with that -- they care about succeeding. The crimes that have prompted BLM to the forefront are very hard to witness and it hits close to home; I have taught and exposed my children to the history of this country so they are educated and understand where they stand. They have been raised with a lot of love and a safe and nurturing environment, and because of that I want them to be aware that when they step out in the world outside of their immediate environment, they’re going to be looked at as a Black person and I want them to know the responsibility that bears and the awareness that they will not always be treated with the respect and love that they are accustomed to.”

Evelyn Cruz, parent of 14- and 29-year-olds, grandmother of 3-year-old.

“I find myself more protective of my young teen son than I was of my daughter. I’m finding my daughter is so aware, it’s amazing to watch. She’s having conversations with her friends on opposite sides of current issues, and I’m watching her navigating the friendships. She’s hurt that she has to have side conversations with her Black friends, so I’ve been very impressed with her willingness. I don’t know that I would have had the patience to wait for my friends to catch up to me. She’s definitely taking the high road, but not letting up.”

Julie Doar-Sinkfield, parent of 25-, 13-, and 14-year-olds.

“In Black communities kids are taught to repress agency -- this is to keep them safe -- don’t speak until spoken to, don’t look an adult in the eye. So I am proud that I have given them agency. I don’t get mad if my kids speak back. They need agency to dream, to have entitlement, to feel like they belong. To embrace their agency is a gift. With it they can speak up, get help if they need it. It’s great to see two young African-American women getting up every day because they know they can make their dreams come true.”

Robert Henry, parent of a 17-, 15-, 13-, 9-, 7-, and 4-year-old.

“I don’t use the word ‘kids’ to refer to youth -- that sounds like an animal to be trained. My children are small people who are independent and grow. We talk about lots of things. My partner and I really try not to scare them. We deal with stares and challenges as a couple from different backgrounds, so the idea of race is discussed as human, from different backgrounds. We’ve never pushed them to decide what race they are. There are many big accomplishments for them because they can feel good about themselves.”

Tisa McGhee, parent of 27- and 23-year-olds.

“I have been a social service advocate for more than half my life, and in that time I educated my children on what I knew about being an advocate by all of us volunteering, participating in church activities, and having hard discussions about life issues, including the trauma and racism that they would face. In light of our current times, they both have shared how upset they are about the fate of our humanity and the brutality Black people face. Both have stood up for the Black Lives Matter movement, and I am most proud of that. While they are disappointed by where we are now, both have faith and hope for the future and their ability to be part of the solution.”

George Wertz, parent of 9- and 11-year-olds.

“We tend to be outspoken, so they get that genetically, with little tolerance for people who are intolerant. I could rave about these kids forever, they’re crazy smart. I enjoy speaking to them and seeing how their minds work. I say, ‘Don’t parrot what I say. What do you think?’ They led to a tirade on Facebook (about Black Lives Matter) with something they said. I figured eventually I’m going to have to have this conversation with them. Why are we still talking about this? Imagine living in a world where you always have reason to believe you have to protect your kids, it’s normalized.”

Robin Bramwell-Stewart, parent of 22-year-old.

“The thing about raising black kids that I don’t think people understand is how much you need to spend time arming them to be in a world that doesn’t appreciate them. I used to say all the time that life isn’t fair. You’re not going to be treated the same. Your presence on the earth is because you come from lines of survivors who made it through, found their own love, how to survive and be happy and be fulfilled; so I’m most proud that he has figured out how to do that. He went off to school and was not afraid to embrace what he loved, not intimidated by the fact that he was the only person of color. So much of being black in this country is about being afraid – and to not allow the messages to internalize, you’re representing your entire race, so people don’t take chances, he rose above that.”

Tina S, parent of 13-year-old twins and a 15-year-old.

“In our home we frequently have discussions about the importance of equal rights. When I hear my kids unpack why it’s wrong of the current administration to strip LGBTQ+ individuals of healthcare protection rights or how they challenged their teacher on the detrimental white-savior theme in book assignments (example: To Kill a Mockingbird), I know they are doing the work to see injustice that exists even if it doesn’t affect them immediately or directly, and that makes me immensely proud.”

 

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