So much has already been said and written about what happened in McKinney, Texas. We, Mocha Moms Inc., have struggled with the question: What more can we add to the conversation?
As the premier voice for mothers of color in this country, it turns out that what we have to say is of primary importance. Those are, after all, our babies who are at the center of the countless news stories like the ones coming out of McKinney, Baltimore and Ferguson. It is our parenting job that is being called into question both by many in your ranks and by those who defend the bad actors you are charged to represent. Whenever anyone justifies police strong-arm tactics by pointing to our children’s lack of respect for authority, it both perpetuates stereotypes about our parenting and the myth of angry and dangerous Black and Brown youth. So we can’t be silent!
We especially can’t be silent when our children’s punishment for common teenage behavior is too often physical and psychological trauma at best and death in the worst-case scenario.
You, the nation’s leading police/law enforcement union, also can’t be silent. Part of your mission, as stated on your own website, is: “… to cultivate a spirit of fraternalism and mutual helpfulness among our members and the people we serve; to increase the efficiency of the law enforcement profession and thus more firmly establish the confidence of the public in the service dedicated to the protection of life and property.”
You simply cannot complete that mission under the conditions of mutual distrust we face across the country or by roundly criticizing an entire demographic of Black and Brown Americans as being disrespectful. Mocha Moms recognizes and even honors your duty and desire to protect and serve. Perhaps it’s not stated clearly and often enough: we mothers of color want you in our neighborhoods to protect and serve us. We understand that you walk out of your homes and away from your families every day putting your lives on the line to save the lives of others. We need you to understand that we teach our children to respect authority. More importantly, out of necessity, we teach them from a young age to turn to you for help, if ever they’re in trouble. Try to imagine how difficult it is to then have to teach them to be extra careful, if ever stopped by police, because any slip up—any lapse in judgment or expression of offense—could cost them their lives.
Popular thinking is that we mothers of color and you enforcers of the law are opponents, but we should be partners. The truth is that we have common goals: you want to combat crime, and we want you to combat crime, specifically for the safety of our children. We strongly encourage you to meet with us and work with us; partner with us Mocha Moms to build trust and confidence to save the lives of our children and to save yours.
Mocha Moms is the premiere voice for mothers of color. Mocha Moms Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic level, education, or religion. Anyone who supports the mission and purpose of Mocha Moms Inc. is welcome to join.