Mamas and the BLM Movement

When I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant a couple of years ago, and my ‘partner’
subsequently abandoned me only four weeks in, I automatically began to look at what family,
ancestry and belonging mean to a child.

My Mom is from the Dominican Republic, and my Dad is from the UK and when my son was
born, I wanted him to learn about and be proud of where he came from. And in the process of
that, I soon realised that he would also one day need to learn about discrimination, prejudice,
and racism.

These are awful topics, and I’d love for us to live in a society where they don’t exist, where skin
colour, and ethnicity, and race, and culture, and religion and… all of those things which make up a significant part of who we are were only celebrated. But we don’t. Not yet, at least.

But there is hope. There is hope that if we do our part as mamas, in taking every step we
possibly can towards being good ancestors (yes, you read that right, being a good ancestor
should be our number one priority) it is highly likely that one day, generations down the line, our descendants will enjoy all of the freedoms of equality.

So what can we do today to preserve hope for tomorrow?

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1) Lead By Example – Studying ourselves and taking responsibility for times when we have
contributed to the current climate is so important. It is uncomfortable to remember times
when we may have turned a blind eye to racism, or benefited from privilege at the
expense of someone else. But until we start calling ourselves out for these sins, we will
never really be able to move forward.

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2) Prepare for Difficult Conversations – Children are very conscious beings, and it often doesn’t take long before they begin to notice, absorb and question the things which their
innocent and pure minds see as being unfair. Having age-appropriate conversations to
educate our children about other races, the dangers which those with brown or black
skin face, and how we can help stand with them is vital.

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3) Diversity In Education – As a mixed child, I happened to live in a city and go to a school where there weren’t many black people. This made me automatically ‘different’ and a
few times my sister, my Mom and I were singled-out for being dark-skinned or
‘frizzy’-haired or for speaking another language, eating another food, or enjoying a
different style of music or dance. So speak to your child’s school to ask what they are
doing to implement diversity in education. Make some suggestions, donate resources,
toys and media featuring black and brown people. And if they aren’t receptive? Pull your
kid to another school.

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4) Homeschool Yourself – There are likely to be gaps in our own education when it comes
to other races, ethnicities and cultures. So delve into history, music, language, poetry, art
and dance from around the world, and learn alongside your children! You can
incorporate toys, books, movies and TV shows to make the experience fun.

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5) Get Others Onboard – Look at the other influential adults in your child’s life and have
these conversations with them. Remember, as in point one, that we teach our children
best by modeling, so if there is a racist in their immediate circle we need to be firm with
that person that around our child that behaviour is not ok. And if we can’t do that, at the
very least we must be reinforcing with our child that those words, actions, or beliefs are

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6) Multicultural Friendships – Make an effort to connect with people and children from other
racial backgrounds and acknowledging the differences in culture in a positive, curious,
and compassionate way; eg. “Amari’s daddy is from Kenya… why don’t you ask him to
teach you some words from his language?” It is about celebrating our differences and
allowing them to enrich our understanding and empathy!

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7) Be An Imperfect Ally – Getting it wrong sometimes is par for the course; we are trying to
change the habits of millenia, and no-one is expecting the eradication of racism to
happen overnight. Be prepared to try and know that even if you make a mistake
occasionally but are prepared to listen and learn from that mistake, then you are still
doing the work now which will mean that your descendents won’t have to.

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Being anti-racist doesn’t come naturally; we have to work at it and try. It is not comfortable and
feels ugly at times. Heck, I myself benefited from being ‘pale enough’ to enjoy white privilege
growing up, and recognizing, understanding, and forgiving that has been a long and rocky road
for me.

But when we know that our children will grow up to reap the benefits of the work we do today, it
feels like no-brainer to do our best to make this world a more inclusive, open-hearted and
compassionate space.

Gabriella is an author (The Single Mama’s Guide to Pregnancy is available on Amazon), yoga
studio owner and Walt Disney World fanatic. Gabriella works as a feminine empowerment coach
specialising with single-and-pregnant women, and leads courses, group coaching and 1-2-1
programs both in-person and online. She and her son Walter live together in Stoke-on-Trent,
and have compassion as their driving force.

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