MyBrownBaby http://mybrownbaby.com Where Black Moms Matter Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:05:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Raising Dion: A Comic Book Imagines A Black Single Mom Parenting Her Superhero Son http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/09/raising-dion-a-comic-book-imagines-a-black-single-mom-parenting-her-superhero-son/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/09/raising-dion-a-comic-book-imagines-a-black-single-mom-parenting-her-superhero-son/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:01:07 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13345 Raising Dion is a delicious new superhero comic book series with an unlikely here: a Black single mom whose only superpower is love for her superhero son.

The post Raising Dion: A Comic Book Imagines A Black Single Mom Parenting Her Superhero Son appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>

Single Black moms are heroic—that’s no secret. But imagine if one mom in particular were raising a second-grade Black boy with superpowers? How would her parenting—indeed, the love, nurturing and tender care she pours into raising him—contribute to the kind of superhero he’d turn out to be? It’s an interesting question posed by the new comic book Raising Dion, and MyBrownBaby is so here for it!

Raising Dion, written by Dennis Liu and illustrated by Jason Piperberg, is about the travails of Nicole, a widowed mom whose 7-year-old son, Dion, has the gift of invisibility, plasma powers and telekinesis. Keeping an adorably precocious little boy from mischievousness is tough enough, but when he can disappear while you’re helping him get dressed, make his cereal float in the air when he’s supposed to be eating it, and make small fires in the parquet floors while pretend playing, parenting alone can be a whole ‘nother level of challenging. But things become even more complicated for Nicole when she notices mysterious men trailing her and her baby, and with Dion’s developing abilities constantly changing and becoming more powerful and possibly evil, Nicole has to find the courage to not only protect her son, but employ her human will and heart to steer her son toward being a hero and far away from being a villain. Raising Dion cover

What a stellar send up to the heroic job that everyday single moms navigate as they raise their children, all-too-often sans the support, pay or respect they deserve. What’s most delicious about Raising Dion? The protagonist and her superhero son are African American, the rarest of finds in the mostly lily-white world of comic books.

Check out the trailer up top; it’s so amazeballs I’m ready for Raising Dion to be a movie already. Hello HBO? Netflix? Amazon Instant Video? Disney? THIS is the kind of flick that would make folks RUN in droves to the theaters to see something original, interesting, smart and a huge departure from the superhero flops piling up in a heap on film house floors.

In the meantime, while we anxiously await the film, we’re happy to support the Raising Dion comic book, available for FREE as a digital download on www.raisingdion.com. I’ll be copping the hard copy for Totally Lila, a comic book and superhero fan who was totally turned out by the Raising Dion trailer and wants more, more, more of this spectacular series. Liu notes that hard copy sales will go toward continuing the series; support him and this incredible storyline by buying a copy for your babies.

Download a digital copy of Raising Dion here.
Purchase the hard copy of Raising Dion here.
Join the Raising Dion Facebook page here.

 

The post Raising Dion: A Comic Book Imagines A Black Single Mom Parenting Her Superhero Son appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/09/raising-dion-a-comic-book-imagines-a-black-single-mom-parenting-her-superhero-son/feed/ 0
Michael Robinson’s Diabetes Jail Death Over Child Support Was Cruel http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/michael-robinsons-diabetes-jail-death-over-child-support-was-cruel/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/michael-robinsons-diabetes-jail-death-over-child-support-was-cruel/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 04:01:45 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13335 Michael Robinson got arrested for failing to pay child support and died after being denied life-saving insulin. It's time to advocate for prisoner's rights.

The post Michael Robinson’s Diabetes Jail Death Over Child Support Was Cruel appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
michael robinson

2500.

This is the number that I cannot get out of mind since the news broke on August 19 that Michael Robinson, a 33-year-old Black father, died as a result of being denied life-sustaining insulin used to treat his diabetes.

According to Raw Story:

“Michael Robinson was arrested Friday on a warrant for unpaid child support, local KFVS reports. Robinson was a diabetic that needed insulin shots at least twice a day. He was taken to Pemiscot County Jail, where his family says he begged jailers for insulin but was denied until he became so weak he couldn’t hold his head up.

Robinson’s cousin, Brig Feltus, posted a comment from his sister saying that she believed Robinson was placed in solitary confinement to keep him quiet, because he was loudly saying he needed insulin.”

When Robinson was taken to the hospital on Sunday evening, it was too late. His blood sugar was said to be 2500. A normal blood sugar level is between about 70 and 140. My suspicion is that Robinson is a type 1 diabetic (meaning he is insulin dependent because his body made no insulin), and he died from a condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), in which a body becomes toxic. Type I diabetes accounts for about 5-10% of diabetic cases. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body doesn’t produce its own insulin (a hormone needed to live), so insulin must be administered via insulin injections or an insulin pump. Just a few days without insulin can quickly kill a Type 1 diabetic.

Robinson’s death was preventable. And his crawl toward death was cruel.


Avoiding child support isn’t a crime that should be punishable by death. #MichaelRobinson
Click To Tweet


I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2006 in an emergency room. I was in DKA. I was not only experiencing

Me, three months before diagnosis.

Rachel Garlinghouse, three months before critical diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.

tall-tale signs of type 1 (extreme thirst and hunger, the chronic need to urinate, unexplained weight loss), but the increasingly high blood sugars my body was spiraling toward caused my vision to be very blurry. I was foggy, disoriented. My legs and feet felt like there were millions of ants crawling inside them. I was breathless, feeling like I was suffocating with no relief.   I couldn’t drink enough water. My body couldn’t regulate its temperature, and I was shaking with cold despite having four warmed blankets heaped upon my frame. My head felt like it had been replaced with a bowling ball (just as Robinson, who “became so weak he couldn’t hold his head up). I was depressed, thirty pounds underweight (I looked like a concentration camp prisoner), and deathly ill.

Being in DKA was torture. If I hadn’t have gone to the ER on the day I did, I would have died, probably within the next day or two.

I know what it feels like to not have insulin, and it’s scary. Very, very scary.

I certainly agree that a parent who doesn’t pay child support should be held accountable. A child is an innocent party in a sometimes volatile situation, and a child has needs that should be met by the parents, including financial needs.

However, not paying child support isn’t a crime that should be punishable by death.

Given the current racial climate in our country and the multiple and unwarranted deaths of Black citizens at the hands of police, it’s fair for many of us to ask: Was denying Robinson’s need for life-sustaining insulin racially motivated? And, given the death of Sandra Bland while in police custody in Texas, and Ralkina Jones, a 37-year-old African American woman from Cleveland who passed after her jailers failed to give her the medicine she made clear she needed, should prisoner rights be added to the #BlackLivesMatter agenda?

Yes. A resounding yes.

* * *

Rachel Garlinghouse is the author of “Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children.” She mothers three children, all of whom were transracially and domestically adopted at birth. Rachel’s written more than 70 articles and has appeared in ESSENCE magazine, on The Daily Drum National Radio Show, and on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry.   She blogs about all-things-adoption at www.whitesugarbrownsugar.com.

The post Michael Robinson’s Diabetes Jail Death Over Child Support Was Cruel appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/michael-robinsons-diabetes-jail-death-over-child-support-was-cruel/feed/ 2
Black Breastfeeding Week: #LiftEveryBaby To Support Black Moms, Our Children & the Best First Food http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-lifteverybaby-to-support-black-moms-our-children-the-best-first-food/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-lifteverybaby-to-support-black-moms-our-children-the-best-first-food/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 04:01:57 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13326 Everything you need to know about Black Breastfeeding Week 2015 and why supporting Black breastfeeding mothers is a critical need that can't wait.

The post Black Breastfeeding Week: #LiftEveryBaby To Support Black Moms, Our Children & the Best First Food appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
Black Breastfeeding Week 2015

By KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS

Yes, breastfeeding is the optimal nutrition for babies. But breastfeeding has never really been just about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is about rethinking societal norms for infant feeding, overcoming systemic barriers and improving workplace accommodations. It’s about understanding corporate influences and profit-making interests—the same ones that want us to feed our babies artificial food from birth and then flood our communities with poor food options. Layer that on top of the cultural nuances of breastfeeding for black women, including the historical trauma of wet nursing, the lack of community support and the proliferation of infant formula marketing in our communities, and you have an even thornier issue. It is no wonder that for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates between black women and white women.

It is also unacceptable.

Two years ago, I joined forces with two amazing breastfeeding advocates to designate August 25-31st as Black Breastfeeding Week—a special week-long awareness campaign to close out National Breastfeeding Awareness Month designed to celebrate the power of breastfeeding in our community. As we see it, breastfeeding is more than giving our children the unparalleled immunological benefits and reduced risk of ear infections, respiratory infections and Type II diabetes. It is more than understanding that breastfeeding gives our children the best start at healthy eating habits for life. Breastfed children are more likely to have a varied and more healthy eating palette because breastmilk tastes differently at each feeding so breastfed children have been introduced to various flavors each day versus infants who are fed artificial substitutes which taste exactly the same, every time for their first year of life.


Breastfeeding is an act of empowerment—the way mothers commit to giving babies the best start.
Click To Tweet


But beyond that we see breastfeeding as an act of empowerment and self-determination. It’s one of the many ways mothers commit and invest to giving their children the best possible start in life. We don’t have to look far into the news events to see black children being undermined, undervalued and under attack by negative media narratives. It is time that we lift our children up and over the many systemic barriers and cultural forces that often prevent them from reaching their fullest potential. This starts at birth.

With that in mind, the theme for this year’s Black Breastfeeding Week is “Lift Every Baby” taking a cue from our black national anthem, along with the 2015 tagline: Breastfeeding: So Strong. So Us. Lift Every Baby reminds us of all the ways that black families and communities lift up and nurture our youngest and most vulnerable members. From breastfeeding to early literacy to quality schools and good nutrition, we’re celebrating and sharing ideas on how we lift our babies—one child at a time.

On August 29th at 3pm EST, noon PST there will be the first-ever nationally coordinated LIFT UP in various cities across America. Black families will gather in predetermined locations to lift up their babies together as a visual display of community support of our children. Whether your “baby” is one day old or 15 years old, if you can lift them up, you can join the Lift Up. I’ll be there with my “baby” who is 11 years old!

Throughout the week we will have various social media events to spread the Lift Every Baby theme, including our signature annual twitter chat, this year with MyBrownBaby on August 27th at 9pm ET. Our debut Twitter chat had over 10 million impressions and this year’s hashtag is #LiftEveryBaby.

This year’s activities also includes the “So Strong. So Us” Art Contest: Whether we are sustaining the best of our culture or elevating it to new heights, artistic expression is at its heart. It helps us to remember who and how we are, even as we aspire. We are calling on the visual artists among us to pay tribute to our culture and inspire the future as we Lift Every Baby. Submit your image electronically here for a chance to be featured at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit during the BMBFA Breastfeeding Summit.

Get the full rundown of activities and the latest updates at www.BlackBreastfeedingWeek.com and the BBW Facebook page.

In strength and solidarity,

The co-founders of Black Breastfeeding Week

Kimberly Seals Allers, founder Black Breastfeeding 360°

Kiddada Green, founder Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA)

Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka , co-editor of Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers

The post Black Breastfeeding Week: #LiftEveryBaby To Support Black Moms, Our Children & the Best First Food appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-lifteverybaby-to-support-black-moms-our-children-the-best-first-food/feed/ 0
I Can Fly Like a Bird In the Sky: Help Blogust Give a Shot@Life To a Child In Need http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/i-can-fly-like-a-bird-in-the-sky-help-blogust-give-a-shotlife-to-a-child-in-need/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/i-can-fly-like-a-bird-in-the-sky-help-blogust-give-a-shotlife-to-a-child-in-need/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 04:01:00 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13313   I mean… I… can fly like a bird in the sky. That quote is the last line of my favorite poem, “Ego Tripping,” from...

The post I Can Fly Like a Bird In the Sky: Help Blogust Give a Shot@Life To a Child In Need appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
Blogust 2015 MyBrownBaby

 

I mean… I… can fly like a bird in the sky.

That quote is the last line of my favorite poem, “Ego Tripping,” from the pen of one of the dopest poets who ever lived: Nikki Giovanni. I can’t remember who introduced it to me. I just know that I need it in my life like I do… air. Nikki’s words in general, but this poem in particular, is full of Black Girl Magic—a celebration of our divine… perfect… light—and when I read her words, every image, every thought, every proclamation, every memory, each and every letter, washes over me. Cleanses me. Reminds me. Swathes me in the history and power and beauty and deliciousness that comes with being a badass Black woman. That comes with stepping fully into she who is Denene.

From the moment I found out that I was carrying a girlchild in my belly, I knew that I wanted to tuck that magic deep down into her little soul. This was important to me because even as I thought about empowering my own babies with the gift of confidence and high regard for self, I didn’t feel like I possessed those things. The best way I knew how to teach my baby to square her shoulders and know that she’s baaaad was to surround her not only with stories and music that spoke directly to my little brown baby, but to stretch and bend and reach for material that moved beyond the obvious. That inspired. That told her the truth. Sure, I adored reading books by authors like Andrea Pinkney and Ezra Jack Keats and Vera B. Williams, each of whom made clear that stories featuring children of color mattered and were meaningful and lovely. But I was trying to raise a baby who would love listening to opera (Kathleen Battle’s So Many Stars) and jazz (Tony Bennett’s Playground and Louis Armstrong‘s Disney Songs The Satchmo Way) as much as she did the Teletubbies and Elmo, and who wouldn’t be afraid to raise a fist in the air when it came time to rep being a beautiful, strong, smart little black girl. So she might catch a little Alice Walker up in the glider, or a word or two of Toni Morrison whispered in her ear while she dreamed in her crib. I adored reading poetry to her most of all, particularly “Ego Tripping,” because, hello, it’s girl power at its finest.

There are so many moments in the poem that move me—that remind. But it is that last line, I think, that gives encouragement. Hope. That says to the reader, Black women are capable—that we have it in us to be who we want to be, do what we want to do and, perhaps most importantly, to affect long-lasting change. To leave a mark on this world.

I had that last line emblazoned on a bracelet years ago because, to me, the words are beautiful. Later, that bracelet morphed into my personal armor—a reminder when I’m wearing it to hold my chin up high and, in whatever I’m doing at the moment, to do what I can to leave a mark on the world.

Today, I ask you to join me in leaving a mark on the world by helping children—a deep passion of mine, indeed. During the month of August, I’m joining a passionate group of beloved online writers, photographers, video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions to share inspirational quotes for our children as part of the annual Blogust celebration. Every time you comment on, Tweet, Facebook, Instagram or pin on Pinterest this post (and those by other #Blogust contributors and on the Shot@Life and United Nations Foundation pages), one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world, up to 50,000.

It’s that simple: comment on, Tweet, Facebook or Pin this post, or like this post on the MyBrownBaby social media pages, and a child will get a life-saving immunization—a shot at life that could help somebody’s baby fly like a bird in the sky.

If you’ve got an inspirational, encouraging or fly quote to share, drop it in the comments section. Let’s inspire together!

The post I Can Fly Like a Bird In the Sky: Help Blogust Give a Shot@Life To a Child In Need appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/i-can-fly-like-a-bird-in-the-sky-help-blogust-give-a-shotlife-to-a-child-in-need/feed/ 19
#BlogHer15: Experts Among Us: Denene Millner’s Voices of the Year Reading (Video) http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/blogher15-experts-among-us-denene-millners-voices-of-the-year-reading-video/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/blogher15-experts-among-us-denene-millners-voices-of-the-year-reading-video/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 05:08:51 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13321 Watch MyBrownBaby's Denene Millner read her winning post about Jahi McBath and a Black mother's love in this BlogHer2015 Voices of the Year video.

The post #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us: Denene Millner’s Voices of the Year Reading (Video) appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>

I’m deeply honored to have been chosen to be one among BlogHer2015’s Voices of the Year, an honor from SheKnows Media meant to celebrate outstanding creators who have pushed readers to think more, feel more, share more, laugh more, and do more. MyBrownBaby was chosen for the deeply moving post, “Meditation On Jahi McMath, Brain Death, Compassion and a Black Mother’s Love,” about a young teenage girl who was declared dead by hospital officials after routine tonsil surgery, setting off a highly-publicized battle between doctors and the girl’s mother, who insisted that her daughter was still alive. A year and a half after being declared dead, Jahi is at an undisclosed location, still in a coma, but alive without help of a ventilator. Her family recently filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming emotional distress and medical negligence they say significantly deteriorated Jahi’s quality of life.

My piece argues that no matter the outcome, Jahi’s mother didn’t deserve the ridicule and callous treatment she received for making the decisions she made on behalf of her baby. Press play and listen to me read it aloud at the BlogHer15 Voices of the Year ceremony.

God bless Jahi. God bless her mom.

The post #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us: Denene Millner’s Voices of the Year Reading (Video) appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/blogher15-experts-among-us-denene-millners-voices-of-the-year-reading-video/feed/ 3
Black Breastfeeding Week 2015: ‘Lift Every Baby’ In Support Of Black Families and the Best First Food http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-2015-lift-every-baby-in-support-of-black-families-and-the-best-first-food/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-2015-lift-every-baby-in-support-of-black-families-and-the-best-first-food/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 04:01:36 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13308 Celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week 2015 with a call to 'Lift Every Baby' in art, public gatherings and a few awesome Twitter parties.

The post Black Breastfeeding Week 2015: ‘Lift Every Baby’ In Support Of Black Families and the Best First Food appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
Black Breastfeeding Week 2015

The 3rd annual Black Breastfeeding Week is fast approaching and this year, the creators of this incredible celebration are asking us to collectively embrace the strength, power and unity of families and communities to lift every baby—literally! From August 25 to August 31, founders Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, Kiddada Green and Kimberly Allers Seals are asking us moms who are passionate about the importance of feeding Black babies the best first food—breastmilk—to spread the word about the importance and beauty of breastfeeding.

The week falls within the celebration of National Breastfeeding Month, but holds special significance specifically for Black moms, who need critical help reducing the gaping, 40-year racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. Indeed, BBW notes that the most recent CDC data shows that 75% of white women have breastfed versus 58.9% of Black women. “The fact that racial disparity in initiation and an even bigger one for duration has lingered for so long is reason enough to take seven days to focus on the issue,” BBW writes on its website. Check out five more stellar reasons we need a Black Breastfeeding Week here.

In the meantime, MyBrownBaby is teaming with FreeToBreastfeed.com, The Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association and MochaManual.com to spread the word about upcoming Black Breastfeeding Week events, including:

The Art for #BBW15 “Lift Every Baby” Contest
There’s a CASH PRIZE for the winning piece, and the artist will have the work unveiled at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit at the Breastfeeding Summit hosted by the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association on Sat. Aug. 29th. Find details about the art contest here.

“Ready, Set, Lift Every Baby” events on Saturday, Aug. 29th.
BBW is looking to make history by creating the first ever nationally coordinated Baby “Lift Up” in cities all across America. The “Lift Ups” are scheduled for August 29th at 3pm EST/ Noon PST and only require agreeing on a public place such as a park to participate. The “Lift Ups” are a symbolic nod to the Black National Anthem and a powerful visual demonstration that we support and cherish our babies and lift them up in many ways. Whether your “baby” is 8 months old or 8 years old, if you can lift him, we want to see you and you our family at the “Lift Up.”

This event requires little to no additional funds to create. It may take place in any open spaces, including parks, community centers, etc. Refreshments are optional, great to provide. Be sure to designate a photographer and inform local media about the event! Check out the event page, with tips for creating your own “Lift Up” on Facebook.

#WellnessWed chat on Wed, Aug. 26th
Hosted by @MomsRising, @BlkBfingWeek, @HealthConnctOne @MochaManual @BMBFA @NormalizeBfing @Support_ROSE and @USBC.

#LiftEveryBaby chat on Thursday, Aug. 27t, 9 PM ET/ 6 PM PST.
This is the annual evening chat in which BBW focuses on the Black family and the holistic development of children, with breastfeeding as one of the main components of the chat.  @MyBrownBaby is hosting! Come ready to talk about our beautiful babies and families!

Join the #LiftEveryBaby Black Breastfeeding Week movement at www.facebook.com/BlackBreastfeedingWeek and https://twitter.com/BlkBfingWeek for resources, support and an awesome celebration of Black motherhood, Black families and breastfeeding. Also, check out the BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org for updates and more details on #BBW15

The post Black Breastfeeding Week 2015: ‘Lift Every Baby’ In Support Of Black Families and the Best First Food appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-breastfeeding-week-2015-lift-every-baby-in-support-of-black-families-and-the-best-first-food/feed/ 0
Confronting My Fear: Lessons from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/confronting-my-fear-lessons-from-ta-nehisi-coatess-between-the-world-and-me/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/confronting-my-fear-lessons-from-ta-nehisi-coatess-between-the-world-and-me/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 04:01:43 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13300 Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me made this mother consider just how much she limits her own children's freedom—and why doing so is wrong.

The post Confronting My Fear: Lessons from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me by FAYE McCRAY

When my first son was born, I nicknamed him pickle. Not for any real reason. He wasn’t green or lumpy. In fact, he was a beautiful golden boy with a mound of dark, curly hair and the pinkest little lips. He was the spitting image of my husband so I fell in love with him instantly and with ease. I already trusted that smile, memorized those lips and I felt myself melt wrapped in those arms. He was born with his eyes open. The physical trait he most inherited from me. Big, dark, oval eyes looking at us with razor-sharp focus, as if he was thinking, already, about who he would become and how we would fit into his life.

When my second son was born, I nicknamed him peanut. Odd really, because he would be the only one of us to develop an allergy to them. He was born bright red and wrinkly, screaming so loudly, his voice echoed throughout the delivery room. Unlike his brother, his eyes were squeezed shut, we joke he wasn’t ready to be born. My sweet, kind boy clung closely to me for his first year of life. He, who I affectionately joked would prefer I had a pouch, like a mama kangaroo. He was perfectly content burrowed in a wrap, tight against the warmth of my body, only peeking out with a toothless smile when he saw fit.

Born three years apart, I fell hard and deeply for my guys. Their beauty. Their energy. Their curiosity. Now five and almost eight, they still squeal with glee at a chocolate chip pancake or a butterfly that lands unexpectedly on the car’s passenger side door. I am proud I was chosen to be their mother. Every single day.

I recently finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between The World and Me. In it, Coates writes to his son about race, humanity and navigating this life in a black body. When I knew the book would adopt the narrative of a father speaking to his son, I knew I had to read it. I listened to it on audio with the spouse and then read it in print to linger a little longer in the language.

There are so many themes in the book that stopped me. Halted me really. Left me sitting in my chair short of breath. He ran a highlighter along things I had been reluctant to see. The most profound of which was Coates hard-hitting words on fear. Fear growing up amidst the sickness of the inner city and the fear he felt from the adults around him who loved him so hard, it hurt, and most significantly to me, his fear as a father of a black son.


I think it was the universe's way of toughening me up to give me two black boys to love.
Click To Tweet


I identified with the fear. From growing up as a black girl in New York City, to loving my beautiful black sons. Reading his words forced me to confront how deeply I feel afraid. In some ways, I think it was the universe’s way of toughening me up to give me two black boys to love. To make me a heterosexual female who fell in love with a black man. I am sensitive. My mother crowned me with that label as a child. Emotional wounds have always felt deeper for me and the pain felt by people I love always struck me as deeply as my own. The people I love the most walk this life in black bodies. A fact that, as of late, has been nothing sort of torturous to my sensitive soul.

In his book, Coates speaks of an experience taking his son on a visit to a preschool with his wife. His son jumped right in with the other children. His first instinct, was to grab his arm, pull him back and say, “We don’t know these folks! Be cool!” He didn’t. “I was growing,” he wrote. “…and if I could not name my anguish precisely I still knew there was nothing noble in it. But now I understand the gravity of what I was proposing – that a four-year-old child be watchful, prudent, and shrewd, that I curtail your happiness, that you submit to a loss of time. And now when I measure this fear against the boldness that the masters of the galaxy imparted to their own children, I am ashamed.”

I read this and cried. I saw myself in this passage. Governing my own children’s moves and reactions. Curtailing their happiness in favor of my wariness. “Don’t get too close to that child.” “Don’t be the loudest at the party.” “Don’t touch another child’s toys at the playground.” “Don’t dance to wildly at the school picnic.” I am so very afraid and reading his words, I felt so very ashamed.

Truth is, I am afraid for my beautiful boys. I am afraid of the looks my taller than average eight-year old gets when he moves with too much eagerness in public. The excitement that bubbles in him animating every long limb he is not quite accustomed to navigating. I am afraid of his sensitivity. The tears he cries when his feeling are hurt. The frustration he releases when he doesn’t feel heard. I am afraid for his fearless intelligence. His insistence on questioning everything. His cleverness and keen ear, picking apart questions so well, adults forget the answers. I am afraid of the grown-up teeth squeezing their way into my five-year old’s mouth. The changing contours of his baby face. His burgeoning athletic frame, broad like my husband. I am afraid for his charm. His beautiful smile. His ease with and adoration of little girls. I am afraid for my boys. Their huge spirits moving in black bodies with little knowledge of the hurt that awaits them. The limits people will place on them. And the ill-will strangers will project on them. Or the dangers that arise in policing them.


I want my children to be free. I may have to step out of their way.
Click To Tweet


Reading Coates’s words, I felt damaged by my own wounds. I was only ten when a person with white skin first made me feel inferior because of my black skin. She called me “black” on a school bus. Hissed it. Because I took a seat she thought rightfully belonged to her. I still remember her icy eyes, staring at me in hate, as if any triumph I could ever feel would always be marred by the body I was in. I knew what it felt like to be judged before I said a word. To be presumed guilty and have to prove my innocence. To be presumed ignorant and have to prove my intelligence. I am hard on my boys because I want to protect them but the reality is my protection can be suffocating. I am chipping away at their beautiful spirits. The parts of their humanity that introduced themselves even as infants, as their skin first parted the air in this new world. I’ve become so consumed with how this world will react to them, I almost forgot to nurture and respect how they will react to the world. How they might even change it.

I want my children to be free. In order to do that, I may have to be one of the ones to step out of their way.

Thank you for your words, Mr. Coates.

Faye McCray is a native New Yorker and current resident of the Washington, DC metropolitan area where she resides with her husband and two young sons. She is an attorney and the author of Dani’s Belts, a collection of horror short stories.  Faye is also the author of Boyfriend, the story of a college student struggling with love, fidelity, and a complicated past. You can also find Faye’s work in Anything But Zombies and on AfroPunk, For Harriet, Madame Noire, Black Girl Nerds, Black and Married with Kids, Graveyard Shift Sisters, and Rachel in the OC.  Faye is also the founder of Celebrating Black Boys, a social media presence committed to celebrating the positive image of young black boys.  You can connect with Faye on Twitter @fayewrites.

The post Confronting My Fear: Lessons from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/confronting-my-fear-lessons-from-ta-nehisi-coatess-between-the-world-and-me/feed/ 2
As Ferguson Prepares For the Anniversary of Mike Brown’s Shooting, a Touching Video Highlights Langston Hughes “Kids Who Die.” http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/as-ferguson-prepares-for-the-anniversary-of-mike-browns-shooting-a-touching-video-highlights-langston-hughes-kids-who-die/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/as-ferguson-prepares-for-the-anniversary-of-mike-browns-shooting-a-touching-video-highlights-langston-hughes-kids-who-die/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 04:01:37 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13296 The anniversary of Mike Brown's shooting inspired this reflection on the deaths of children killed at the hands of police and racists, set to the words of Langston Hughes' prophetic anti-lynching poem, "Kids Who Die."

The post As Ferguson Prepares For the Anniversary of Mike Brown’s Shooting, a Touching Video Highlights Langston Hughes “Kids Who Die.” appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>

From Change.org:

It’s been 77 years since civil rights activist and poet Langston Hughes wrote his chilling poem “Kids Who Die,” which illuminates the horrors of lynchings during the Jim Crow era. Now, as we approach the anniversary of Mike Brown’s shooting and the Ferguson uprising that sparked a growing movement, Hughes‘ words remain painfully true today.

Frank Chi, progressive media consultant, and Terrance Green, a filmmaker and strategist, have created a powerful video visualizing the injustice of current day police violence through Hughes‘ poem. Inspired by the incredible acts of resistance that have taken place since August of last year, Terrance and Frank’s creative work confronts the reality of what it means to be Black in America.

August 9th is a big day for the movement and many of us will wrestle with the weight of it’s many meanings. While this Sunday represents a day of unconscionable tragedy, it also marks the re-birth of a powerful Black-led movement to end systemic racism that is poised to change the world.

Rest in power Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Aiyana Jones, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Samuel DuBose, Sandra Bland and all the many others who’s deaths were highlighted in this video and in our collective memory. You did not die in vain.

The post As Ferguson Prepares For the Anniversary of Mike Brown’s Shooting, a Touching Video Highlights Langston Hughes “Kids Who Die.” appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/as-ferguson-prepares-for-the-anniversary-of-mike-browns-shooting-a-touching-video-highlights-langston-hughes-kids-who-die/feed/ 0
‘Teaching Center’: Key & Peele Video Imagines What Would Happen If We Feted Teachers Like Star Athletes http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/teaching-center-key-peele-video-imagines-what-would-happen-if-we-feted-teachers-like-star-athletes/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/teaching-center-key-peele-video-imagines-what-would-happen-if-we-feted-teachers-like-star-athletes/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 04:01:25 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13293 In this hilarious Key & Peele video, Boyd Maxwell and Perry Schmidt report on the latest developments in the exciting world of pro teaching.

The post ‘Teaching Center’: Key & Peele Video Imagines What Would Happen If We Feted Teachers Like Star Athletes appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>

Imagine if teachers were chosen in an NFL-styled draft. Consider what our schools would be like if public school teachers actually signed contracts guaranteeing a six-year, $80 million salary, with $40 million in incentives based on test scores. How dope would it be if we feted teachers like we do, say, Lebron James or that cheatin’ ass Tom Brady or Serena Williams and them? In a piece debuting last night’s episode of their Comedy Central show, this Key & Peele video imagines that magical, mythical world in which teachers are revered, paid well for their services and dedicated to helping our babies soar. What a wonderful world it would be.

The post ‘Teaching Center’: Key & Peele Video Imagines What Would Happen If We Feted Teachers Like Star Athletes appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/teaching-center-key-peele-video-imagines-what-would-happen-if-we-feted-teachers-like-star-athletes/feed/ 0
Black and Ugly: Afro Latino Colorism On the Pre-School Playground Forced This Conversation http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-and-ugly-afro-latino-colorism-on-the-pre-school-playground-forced-this-conversation/ http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-and-ugly-afro-latino-colorism-on-the-pre-school-playground-forced-this-conversation/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 04:28:29 +0000 http://mybrownbaby.com/?p=13285 Afro latino colorism reared its ugly head on a preschool playground, but this little girl leaned on her mom's lessons on self-love to make it through.

The post Black and Ugly: Afro Latino Colorism On the Pre-School Playground Forced This Conversation appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>

By SILI M. RECIO

If you live in the U.S. and have a child, preparing them for a time when someone will say something negative about their appearance (hair, skin, etc.), is commonplace. It’s like a special brand of parenting boot camp that only those who are raising children of color get to attend.

You think you’re ready. You have asked your best friend, neighbors, consulted folks with PhD’s. Read articles and of course, you’ve prayed. Because what else can you do? You know it’s coming.

And yet I can say that I was taken by surprise. Having lunch one day with my daughter, her best friend and her best friend’s mom, I heard something that I had hoped I wouldn’t hear just yet. My child’s BFF had told her mom just that morning that a little boy in their class had called my girl black and ugly.

I took a breath and then another. The mom confessed that she almost cried when she heard that. I don’t think I wanted to cry. My anger seeped in the hot water of maternal instinct, the pot of constant activism and on the stove ignited by ignorance.

I waited until I got home later on that night and as we stepped in the house and took of our shoes, I began.

“Baby, did Eric (not the child’s real name) say something mean to you?” The frog princess looks pensive, turns her mouth as if not finding anything in her thoughts and says “no.” Then the pause as her brain remembers something “he just said I was black and ugly,” she says, already dismissing the comment as if it did not matter.

I smile on the inside because these words seemed to have slid right off her skin. At least this time, it seems she has escaped without a permanent scar left there by careless words. But I still find it important for her to understand the seriousness of his comment.

“And what did you say?” I question.

“I told him I was not black, that I was brown,” she says exasperated at the thought of having to point out the obvious to another child. Kids are so literal at this age. “And I told him I was beautiful. I told him I was the perfect color.”

I wanted to cry. I wanted to scoop her up and cry into her hair. But I resisted the urge understanding that this was one of those milestones that we have to walk through, one of those moments that will shape the little foundation already laid.

Since before she was born, I have infused her spirit with positive affirmations. As a Dominican born woman, I focused so much of my energy into ensuring that she loved her hair. Having not worn my hair curly until well after I was 25 and understanding the negative words of people that “loved” me had toward my hair, I made a conscious effort to inject positivity into that beautiful head of hair that I lovingly combed for hours at a time. And it’s working.

But I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for her to have someone direct those words, said in hatred and ignorance, before her preschool graduation. The other thing I wasn’t ready for? I wasn’t ready to deal with the fact that those words came from a Latino child.

It was ignorant of me. I heard it from my own family as a child so, why did I not think it would happen this way?

We crawled into my bed and I held her hand as I spoke. She asked “Mami, you wished this color for me when I was in your belly, right? Because it’s like Titi Q’s and because it’s like your coffee.” She said this with satisfaction and finality as a simple explanation for her hue and I smiled.

As I held her, we spoke about her heritage. About being African American. About the fact that she is also an Afro Latina. Then, because I didn’t want Eric’s words to ever haunt her psyche, I said.

“Baby, you know we don’t use the word stupid in this house, right? I need to use it right now. There are some people that are stupid and ignorant and will not like us because of the color of our skin. But, the words they say do not matter because they are not true.”

I try my best to explain that what we think of ourselves matters as opposed to what an ignorant person might say.

“I know, Mami. I’m the perfect color,” she repeated.

She has been loved by so many people. She was wanted and cherished and held up as a miracle child. And yet, someone will indeed look at her and not like her because of the way she looks. Attempt to diminish her because of the color of her skin, talk down to her because of the curl in her hair.

We continued to talk, we spoke of our heritage. As is always the case, we laughed. I saw a confidence in her that I don’t think I acquired until adulthood. I prayed. Not just for her but for every other child out there who will encounter ignorance on their path. That they may see past the words and understand their own strength, their heritage and the fact that those words don’t define them.

I also pray for kids like Eric who isn’t at fault in this case. We all know hatred is learned. There’s this perceived otherness within the Latino community that at times scares me. I don’t know where to start to fix it. I don’t know where the brokenness lies that make us, collectively, deny our roots and identify as something other than the melting pot that we are.

The conversation has begun with so many others before me. And it shall continue with me sharing this story and starting another dialogue. It’ll pass down to you and to our children who will hopefully not need to have this conversation except as a reminder of how the past used to be in comparison to the future that they’ve created.

My Afro Latina Frog Princess, you are smart, kind, funny, courageous and beautiful. And if you should ever hear the words “black and ugly” again, I hope you’ll allow them to shimmy down your spine and land squarely beneath your foot, where they belong.

My frog princess, smart and beautiful as always.

Sili is the owner and Chief Executive Mami of the Organizada Planner and My Mamihood. She was selected as one of Latina Magazine’s Top Blogger to Know in 2014 and Latina Magazine’s top 10 Mommy bloggers in 2013. Mother to a 5-year old little girl and campaign fellows for MomsRising.org round out her current passions. Sili is deeply committed to changing the world and coaching you right along toward your purpose. She is viciously awesome. Sili raises armies and builds empires. She also bakes cookies and thangs.

This post appeared first on Huffington Post LatinoVoices. It is reprinted here with permission from the author.

The post Black and Ugly: Afro Latino Colorism On the Pre-School Playground Forced This Conversation appeared first on MyBrownBaby.

]]>
http://mybrownbaby.com/2015/08/black-and-ugly-afro-latino-colorism-on-the-pre-school-playground-forced-this-conversation/feed/ 3