Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters


racial injustice

when men hold bibles as weapons of oppression

Y’all, I’m terrified.

I’ve been on the side of white men in power suits wielding the Bible as a weapon before. I know on an up-close-and-personal level how dangerous a man who has fallen in love with power and believes he’s unstoppable can be. How quickly he finds allies, how quickly he finds weakness, how he uses everything in his arsenal to his advantage and against yours. I’ve lived in tyranny under the guise of Christianity.

When I was seventeen years old, I didn’t have the power to stop it. The only power I had was to run. To run away to another home. A sanctuary. At fifty-four years old I have the power to stop him. I have the power to vote. I have the power to speak out. I have the power to march. I have the power, but I can’t do it alone.

He’s already gotten away with so much more than I would have thought possible.

When he was elected three-and-a-half years ago I cried and cried and cried. It felt like mourning. It felt like death. I was terrified of what he would do. But I was assured the country had checks and balances in place to keep Trump from doing too much damage. That seems not to have been the case.

I’ve watched the POTUS navigate this country completely without moral compass, violating law and constitutional rights and human decency, time and time and time again. And then, this week, when he declared himself president of law and order and decided he would “dominate” the people he was elected to serve… when he marched his smug self and his police force (his long-dreamt of military parade) out of the Rose Garden and onto the property of St. John’s Episcopal Church, a church dedicated to humanitarian missions and serving those in need within its community, to hold up a Bible in blatant mockery of everything Christ stands for — I knew. I knew we have come to a dangerous tipping point.

I’ve seen men hold Bibles up as weapons of oppression and hatred before. I’ve lived it. And I know the havoc it can wreak. A man who holds a Bible like Hitler and seeks domination and absolute law and order squashes every liberty you’ve ever known. Will rob you of every dream you ever had — if you let them. Don’t let them.

If you are of voting age and you see the slippery slope the feverish, power-hungry philistine in office is trying to steer us all toward, you need to exercise your power, use your might: VOTE. Vote and GET HIM OUT OF OFFICE before he does irreparable harm.

Don’t run away like I did at seventeen. Don’t seek sanctuary somewhere else. THIS is a land of promise. A land of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL. Not the few. Not the white. Not the patriarchy. Not the men wielding bibles as weapons.

Stand up. Fight for your freedom. Fight for your dreams. Fight for YOUR country.



If you can breathe, you need to speak

The last few days have been heartbreaking to me in a way I’m having a difficult time processing and expressing. I can’t imagine what my friends of color are feeling. I ache for your grief and your anger.

Seeing the president speak from the rose garden about being a “president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters,” minutes after flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas rained down on law-abiding citizens demonstrating across the street — all so he could parade himself over to a church and wave a bible in the air — it sickens me.

Hearing him speak of second amendment rights and military aggression with heavily armed soldiers to squelch the justified movement of a people in pain and desperate for change — it sickens me.

And not hearing what should have been said. The POTUS not addressing the injustice and violence and murders that led to these protests, this unrest. No acknowledgment of pain felt or wrongdoing dealt. What he didn’t say sickens me most of all.

And the same goes for some of my friends who have chosen to leave so much unsaid. The voices that have stayed silent during this pivotal moment in American history, my grief and shame is overwhelming.

I don’t get it. Staying “politically correct” in a time when the politics of status quo are anything but correct — it’s selfish and it’s sad.

The people who belligerently write “All Lives Matter” on posts infuriate me, but at least I know exactly where they stand. And so does the black community.

It’s the ones who say nothing — they’re the ones you wonder about. Are they ally or enemy? Those who say nothing aid the oppressor. So I guess that makes them enemy.

Silence smothers. It covers and conceals and squelches fire.

George Floyd’s “I Can’t Breathe” cry fell on his tormentor’s deaf ear. But it has become a rallying cry for the movement. Don’t smother that cry with silence.

Without oxygen, you die. Without oxygen, you also can’t speak. Be the oxygen this movement needs. Speak up.

Eric Garner and George Floyd’s and myriads of others’ voices were taken from them. Don’t let anyone — including yourself and any fear you feel — take yours. Use your voice. Stand up. Speak out.

If you love this country and all it stands for. If you believe in liberty and justice FOR ALL, rise up and rail against the injustice you see, you read, you hear, you feel.

You: Speak. For justice, for truth, for liberty. For all the battered, bruised, violated, murdered brothers and sisters of color.

Please. Speak.

The American Dream is a Nightmare; Liberty & Justice, a Sham

I have to write on this. Not because I have anything particularly valuable to say, but because if I don’t, I’m part of the problem. If I stay silent, I’m encouraging the oppressor. I refuse to support injustice and inequality. I refuse to encourage violence and murder.

So I am standing in the gap and calling for change.

And if I lose friends, if I lose “followers,” so be it. Better that loss, than the loss of human lives in a nation built on liberty and justice for all — unless you don’t fit that “liberty and justice” mold. That white, gun-toting, rebel-rousing, faith-filled, liberty-and-justice mold. It’s fine to be a rebel if you’re white. It’s fine to carry guns — semi-automatic weapons even — if you’re white. It’s fine to be a person of faith — as long as you’re Christian and white. It’s fine to want liberty and justice, as long as you’re white. 

America. A nation built on lies bred on the backs of people of color forced to forge the American Dream. Well, that dream is a nightmare and I refuse to participate. I refuse to bury my head in the sand. Instead, I will scream at the top of my lungs until we all wake up. 

I am no expert. My skin is not black. I cannot say I understand. I can, however, say I empathize. I can, however, say I support you. I can, however, do all I can possibly do to help. I can acknowledge the injustice and speak for change. I can speak out from my heart for my students, my student-athletes, my friends, my fellow humans.

I owe them my love, my support, my energy, and my efforts. I owe them the acknowledgment of inequality. We all do. And we owe them more than that. We owe them equality.

I have seen and heard and felt the racist comments and undercurrents in my classroom whenever we’ve tried to discuss inequality. Inevitably, the room becomes a harshly-divided hotbed of contention — and unwaveringly along color lines. There are far too few white students willing to take a stand with their black peers and acknowledge they have seen and heard the racism inherent in our community. There are, thankfully, a small handful willing to speak up for their peers.

Along with Hispanic and Asian students, they will speak up. Because they know. They understand. They see and hear and feel it too. But inside the walls of my classroom — and inside the walls of my social media accounts, I regularly hear, “Well, honestly, ALL lives matter.”

Well, of course they do. Nobody is saying they don’t. But plenty of people ARE saying Black lives don’t matter.

  • Through their actions. (Refusing to see an undeniable truth IS action and it is unforgivable.)
  • Through negative labeling to “justify” the violence.
  • Through the continued denial of the obvious and ongoing racist crisis in the nation (I hesitate to use the words “Our Nation” when it so obviously denies freedom and justice for ALL). 
  • Through the staggering number of minority deaths at the hands of law enforcement.
  • Through the refusal of the legal system to hold those responsible for the all those deaths legally responsible
  • Through the arguments, “But he was resisting arrest”; “But they shouldn’t have been hanging with that crowd”; “But he was jogging in cargo pants”; “But, but, but, but…”

No more butts. We have too many assholes in the world already. There is no excuse, and there is no more time for excuses. Stand up and say No More. No more negative portrayals. No more negative nouns. No more labels. No more statistics. No more names. No more deaths. No more time.

There is only time now for support and for change. Stand in the gap. Help make change. Demand justice. For George Floyd. For Ahmaud Arbery. For Breonna Taylor. For Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Philando Castile. For so many more… 

For the many who have been enslaved, scarred, broken, and murdered in the shameful history of a nation built on the dreams of the few at the expense of the many. This. Is. America. 

And until something changes, it is a sham.

My Experience with Undocumented Students: Why I Love our Dreamers

I’ll never forget my student who explained to me how he came to America for an education.  He raised his hand politely when we were discussing the negativity in our hallways following Trump’s election. He had overheard students chanting “Build that Wall.” He overheard students telling other students to go back where they came from. He overheard one student boldly hold up her head and explain that she wasn’t Mexican and she wasn’t illegal. My student walked quickly past. He was both.

Back in my classroom, he felt safer. He felt braver. He explained to me and to his classmates that he had come from Mexico ten years prior with his father and his uncle while the rest of his family had stayed behind. He missed them all terribly, but the entire reason for coming to this country was so he could get a quality education. Back home, he explained, that was not possible. There were classrooms without electricity. There were schools without running water. If you wanted math skills beyond a fourth-grade level, he explained, you had to pay for private school. His family didn’t have that kind of money.

So he and his father and uncle came to America. He studied and he learned. He struggled – sometimes with the material, but most times with the hate. He just wanted people to understand.

He is one of the kindest-hearted, hardest-working students I’ve ever taught. He is exceptional, but he is not an exception. I’ve taught many students like him. Students who know and understand the value of education. Students who come to America to come to school, to sit quietly, to do their work, and to soak up any and all knowledge they possibly can. I wish I had more students like them. I would gladly fill my classroom with dozens of these young men and women. They know and understand what the world looks like without access to education.

It looks like poverty. It looks like violence. It looks like drug cartels and narcotic trafficking. It looks like where they came from. And they want change. For themselves, for their families, for their country.

So they work. Hard. They learn. Well. They are respectful and teachable, and tough. They don’t whine when they don’t get an A. They work harder. They come for tutoring. They ask for remediation. They never ask for a grade. They work for one.

The same can’t be said for perhaps seventy percent of my natural-born students. There has been a drastic shift in the mentality of parents and students in the United States in the seventeen years I’ve been a teacher. Parents call and email regularly these days with complaints. They aren’t happy with little Johnny or Jill’s grade They gripe and complain and bellyache that we aren’t fair, we’re too tough, we’re on power trips, we aren’t accommodating enough. Their children gripe and complain and bellyache, as well. Parental attitudes passed down like genetics, multiplying like a cancer.

Somewhere along the way, the idea of the American Dream has gotten soft and fuzzy. We used to have a Puritan work ethic, a nose-to-the-grindstone mentality that built our nation into the powerhouse it used to be. These days, our work ethic is pitiful, not Puritan.  Folks seem to believe they can sleep walk through their lives and simply reap the benefits of being American: good education, good jobs, good pay, good living conditions.

I see it in my classroom every day. Kids who want everything handed to them: the notes, the answers, the grades.

And this lazy philosophy, this twisted version of the American Dream, is currently on display in our oval office: a spoiled rotten and ranting adult-sized child who’s never worked an honest day in his life and who finds fault in anyone and everyone but himself.

Our American Dream has mutated into an American Nightmare.

Yesterday, Trump destroyed the authentic dreams of thousands of young adults like my student, individuals who understand and embody the true nature and characteristics of the American Dream — hard work and sacrifice — better than most of their American counterparts. Their only fault is they aren’t American.

Then again, didn’t our forefathers house the exact same fault? Didn’t they arrive on America’s shores searching for a better life as strangers in a strange land?

The decision to end DACA has tremendous repercussions on honest, hard-working, deeply committed individuals who have the potential to improve the world in immeasurable quantities if only they are allowed access to the ways and means to do so: education.  Individuals like my precious student.

Which brings me back to those parental complaints a few paragraphs back, I tend to agree with them. We aren’t fair; we are on power trips; we are not nearly accommodating enough — to those who are willing to work for the American Dream and understand its potential the most: our young, undocumented immigrant students.

Contact your representatives. Let them know you stand with DACA and our undocumented immigrant students. Please.

A Mother’s Prayer: stop hurling hashtags and hate and understand that Humanity Matters


I penned this one year ago today, and I am sad to say that the racial strife and violence has not gotten any better. This is still one of my most fervent prayers. I wish we would all see each other’s humanity — not skin and uniform color. The shooting of the San Antonio police officer Miguel Moreno earlier this month and the recent jury acquittal in the Philando Castille murder trial are two recent examples of how we are still so divided. I believe in the power of love and empathy. Humanity Matters. 

July 8, 2016 “A Mother’s Prayer”

How do I possibly write warm twin mommy morsels when my heart is so very bruised and battered this morning? How do I dare think of my boys and their future when I see how horribly dark and diseased our world appears to be at the moment.

I write about my boys often, but you all know that I am also the mother of two amazing twenty-something daughters. Being the mother of girls is a worrisome thing. I stress about the intentions of others toward them each and every day. They are beautiful and they are strong and they are passionate, but there are predators out there — predators who are attracted to their strength and beauty and passion because they want to own it, control it, damage it. All girl parents know this fear. Are they home safe? Are they making wise choices? Are they being cautious or are they being carefree while out in this world of breathtaking beauty and breath-taking destruction?

Worry for a mother of any child, male or female, is a very real thing. We all know the saying about having a child—about making the momentous decision to have your heart forever walk around outside your body (Elizabeth Stone). But these last few days, in the horrific aftermath of all of the violence being reported, I have tried to put myself in the place of terrified black mothers everywhere and I have tried to put myself in the place of terrified cop mothers everywhere.

I am not the mother of young, black sons. I know fear, but I don’t know that I can truly understand THAT fear. My child doesn’t venture out into the world every single day and willingly walk into a world that so often despises them for the color of their skin and the youth in their years. I have never had to worry about that fear with my daughters. Or the fear that some people will judge my child as a threat because she’s wearing a hoodie. Or that someone will twitch and shy away from her as she walks down the sidewalk. Or that someone will assume she is a troublemaker because she has a concealed carry license. Or that someone will assume bad things about her because she wears a baseball cap and carries a bat. All mothers have fears, and many of those fears are the same, and some of those fears are unfair and unimaginable and almost impossible to breathe through.

I also am not the mother of police officers. I know fear, but I don’t know that I can truly understand THAT fear, either. My child doesn’t suit up at the oh-dark-forty hours of the morning and willingly walk into a world that so often despises them for the color of their uniform and the symbol of their authority. I have never had to worry about that fear with my daughters. Or the fear that some people will judge my child as a threat because she’s wearing a badge. Or that someone will twitch and shy away from her as she drives down a side road. Or that someone will assume she is a troublemaker because she has a state-issued firearm. Or that someone will assume bad things about her because she wears an officer’s cap and carries a nightstick. All mothers have fears, and some of those fears are the same, and many of those fears are unfair and unimaginable and almost impossible to breathe through.

I am not the mother of black sons and I am not the mother of police officers. But I am a mother. I know and understand what it feels like for your heart to walk around outside your body. I know and understand THAT worry and THAT fear. As mothers, we all want the same thing: peace and respect, love and goodwill toward our babies. How can we protect all of these mothers’ hearts making their way through the world as it spins on its insane axis? I’ve taught thousands of mother’s babies in my career. I teach the children of afraid, black mothers. I teach the children of nervous, targeted officers. I see and hear these concerns every year, hell, every day. I see and feel these pains every day.

#BlackLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter. All of this hurling of hashtags (which I’ve done, quite recently too) seems to only exacerbate the violence. Black and Blue. The colors of bruising. And we’re bruising one another. Even worse, we’re killing one another. And I don’t even like #allLivesMatter because it has become a band aid to slap over an open wound. It is causing even further divides. Love one another. Respect one another. #HumanityMatters.

There are bad guys on both sides. And there are good guys on both sides. And the good guys outnumber the bad in every direction. So what can we do so that all the good guys win? God I wish I knew. But I do know it has to begin with empathy. Empathy: putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes as best we can. Listening to their stories. Hearing their feelings. Understanding their needs. Acknowledging their fears. Respecting their lives.

Our fears are all different, and our fears are all the same. It’s Einstein’s theory of relativity. And the physics doesn’t stop there. Newton’s third law comes into play, too: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And right now, the action has been violence. And the violence begets violence. The injustice begets injustice.

We need a sea change – in other words, a major transformation. And without empathy we’ll never get there. It takes one empathetic soul at a time to bring about change. And one feels like such a drop in the ocean. But with every drop, with every person who tries to understand, to put themselves in the “other’s” position, the tides can change.

Now I know that practically no one ever changes his or her mind through political FaceBook posts. I know people like their opinions (and only THEIR opinions) in sound bites – and this has been far longer than a sound bite — but I’m hoping someone out there has heard. One soul. Because first one and then one and then one and then one… and suddenly empathy has met Newton’s third law, and we have a Sea Change. Or should I say, we See Change. God knows we need it.

This is my Mother’s Prayer.


Blog at

Up ↑