As your mom–the woman who watches you grow daily, I am filled with joy, excitement, and a little fear. The fear that exists within stems from the negativity in this world. I call you our little gumbo baby because, just like a delicious pot of gumbo, you pack a variety of flavors. Your African American, German, and Mexican heritages make all that is you. Some people will try to make you feel like you have to pick one identity over the others, but as your mom, I will never make you choose! It is not only my job as your mom but as a black mom to educate you on your black heritage.
February is Black History Month
In 2020, at one year of age, you won’t yet understand, but in time this month will resonate.
You see, your blood is rich with West African DNA, and you will learn that many of your ancestors had a hard and brutal legacy on the journey here to America. When you begin school, you will read stories of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., who, like Mahatma Gandhi, pushed for peace and equality. You’ll learn about the seamstress and civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger in a time where people of color were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. Her name is Rosa Parks, and this moment started what we know as the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
I’ll tell you stories of your great, great grandmother Laura Mae Ellis, who was a poor cotton picker from Mississippi with a lot of spiritual wisdom and stories. I’ll tell you about how proud she was to witness the inauguration of our first black president, President Barack Obama. Becoming our 44th president of the United States in 2009, this was a day Laura, or Maw Maw, as we affectionately called her, never thought she would see in her lifetime!
You see, a long time ago, people were separated by the color of their skin, and we still struggle with this today, but many people of all races and cultures continue to unite in hopes of one day bringing an end to this.
Not all stories are pretty. That said, the teaching of black history will not be to scare you, but to empower, educate, and teach compassion. To know all of the heritages that you embody is part of my responsibility as your mom. I take pride in it. To begin learning of your black heritage will be a journey that exceeds the month of February, but this is an ideal time to start.
Featured Image of Writer Natasha and Son Osiris Photography by Dylon Schroeder