When I became a mother nearly 15 years ago to a precious baby boy, I made a silent promise, that I would be active and engaged in every facet of his life, from early childhood to adulthood, and that I would be his partner in education, from our home to his school. I am his mother. I am his first teacher. I am his guide. I am his keeper.
My children are blessed, and privileged, and lucky, some might say, to live as we do, in a household with two loving parents and a village of support, from family, friends and neighbors to teachers in schools, mentors in community organizations and coaches in sports. Yet I still worry. So many mothers I know are fraught with anxiety about the welfare of their children, but quite often none more so than our precious boys. We know that for many decades, opportunities have lagged behind for our boys and our young men of color. No matter how much we love and care for them, it will take a commitment of role models, mentors, businesses, foundations, communities and legislators to lift them up as they try to climb. That is why President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, with its focus on some of the most important moments in life, from early childhood to college and career, hits so close to home. It’s an opportunity to come together, to share the trials and tribulations, to celebrate the achievements, to find out what works, and what doesn’t. It’s a chance to show our sons that we care.
Our young men of color need us, and our girls do too. From the struggles of our sons in the United States to the heartbreak of our girls in Nigeria, all hands must be on deck. Our children need unfettered access to high quality education. They need ladders of opportunity. Communities to keep them safe and secure. Hearts to reach out to them. Ears that will listen. Shoulders to cry on. Arms to hold them close. Whole nations to give them value.
Kuae Kelch Mattox is the National President of Mocha Moms, Inc.
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