Those who have watched the George Floyd murder talk about the moments of last breaths. It is here when he calls out for his “Momma”. “Momma!” Floyd called out, “Momma! I’m through.” His mother is already deceased. Still, his call for her speaks to me – as a mom and a Black mother, and as a parent and person. George Floyd grew up in Houston. The streets he walked growing up as a young kid are the ones I spent my high school years and summers. People who spoke at and attended his funeral are people I knew. George Floyd isn’t the first person who – facing death, despair, or racism – cried for his mother.
I am hopeful that as educators and leaders working to build a better future, he will be among the last.
Recently I let my daughter walk around the block by herself. She wants to feel independent and have the opportunity to do more things alone. Having my own childhood stories of feeling unsafe walking around the streets, I wasn’t quite ready to let her go. So I let her walk around the block – but I also followed her in my car (I told her about this when she returned). There were many things that went through my mind when letting her walk. But the reality is, based on looks I get walking around my own neighborhood (usually from tourists staying in our neighborhood, so people who don’t know that I am a neighbor), there are many ways I worry for her safety.
As parents, we are always in this fine balance –wanting to give our children the freedom to experience the world and the confidence to successfully navigate it – while also wanting them to feel and be protected and safe.
The Privilege of Safe Passage
Parents whose kids can safely walk their neighborhoods, whether because it is presumed safe, or because parents can feel comfortable that others don’t see their child as a threat or unsafe, certainly have a privilege.
We want every parent to have the privilege of their kid – whether 6 or 46 – feeling safe when in their neighborhood. We want every parent to have the privilege of their kid, whether 7 or 17, to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Celebrating Parent Voice
In these times where so many parents are working to make their voices heard – to protect their children now and in the future – we are more driven than ever to work with schools, districts, organizations, and communities to make sure voices are heard.
We celebrate those with the courage to share and amplify their voice. We celebrate those with the courage to learn and hear from the voices of others.
People need access and opportunity to share their voice. Those historically and currently disenfranchised need even more access and opportunity. They need the ability to shape the organizations, institutions, countries, and world that affect their lives.
We are ready for the ongoing work. People should have the opportunity to share their voice. We want to make sure their voice is not limited or muted by racism, socioeconomic background, or language.
This is work that we are committed to. To…
- Continue to be a tool for voice, opportunity, and equity. While acute issues get the most attention, the day to day inequities do equal damage. We love that we get to elevate the “in-between moments” – the praise and love, and the opportunities for improvement.
- Help parents along this journey. The talk that Black parents give to their kids about how to try to protect themselves is notorious. But all parents need and want to talk to their kids about how to be members of a diverse community and country. Our individual successes and failures are connected to our collective ones. So every parent benefits from making sure their children learn to be contributing, active members to our diverse community.
- Standing proud as a reminder that communities, organizations, schools, districts, and institutions need frequent opportunities for accountability and feedback. We are so thankful for our school and district partners who prioritize creating systems of feedback and accountability. With this gratitude, we look forward to growing this community to include other organizations and even more schools and districts.
We are thankful for our diverse community. As a Black woman, I am heartened to hear the echoing that my life matters. I hope, on behalf of other Possip team members, parents, principals, educators, and leaders, you will join us in celebrating and reinforcing the importance of Black lives. You will join the broader humanity represented by intentionally celebrating and honoring them.