I am a mother of Black children, and to be honest, I am emotionally exhausted. The last six months have been a complete worldwind. Part of this had to do with the fact that my two college students suddenly returned home, full-time, earlier this year, and I was overseeing my 7th graders e-learning.
However, trying to keep my Black children safe has taken on another layer, including arming them with masks and hand sanitizer as my college students return to campus and my now 8th grader returns to in-person learning amid a global pandemic. There is also the layer of sending them back to predominantly white institutions.
I have heard some of my white friends say they turn off the news so their children aren’t stressed with all that 2020 has given us to digest. Raising Black children during these times, I have to bring the current events into our lives and talk about our reality as Black people in America.
My college students have lost people who they thought were their friends due to speaking out about social injustice. My 8th grader has been disconnected from that harsh reality since school has been shut down and his interaction with his peers was limited. With the shooting of another Black man, and the riots that have followed, he will inevitably be faced with the reality that many of his peers don’t understand racial inequality.
We contemplated not sending my 8th grader back to Heritage Christian School, which is predominately white. We ultimately decided against pulling him out. So far, his good friends are (and their parents) have been supportive, and I have never seen him happier to go to school. Heritage Christian School has made a commitment to increase cultural awareness and have conversations with students of color and their parents in an effort to improve the experience of students of color within their community. I hope other school will do the same. It isn’t the last step, but at least this first step is being taken.
I’m tired of being exhausted. This exhaustion for me, and other Black parents, will only let up when we all make a collective effort to speak up and take action for social justice and change.