by Stephanie Johnson
After seeing the photo of a room full of women at the capital during the special session, I wept. I wept for the Black moms who don’t have time to protest for their children at the capital this week. I wept because Black moms are five times more likely to lose their child to gun violence than anyone else. I wept for the sheer fact tomorrow is not promised to a Black mom, and when her child dies there will be no mass protest. There will be no great move of bills being passed or special sessions being had.
Where are the Black mothers in the rows of seats? Where are the Black moms on the front page of News Week? Every year, gun deaths in the Black community will outpace every other community. To call for a public health emergency on gun violence, would be a call for peace and rescue in Black communities. It would mean, someone actually cares.
When I heard one mom say: “Our Kids,” I clenched my shoulders. The reality is, there is no ‘Our Kids’ because my kids are not there. It’s little White boys and girls who have tagged along with their mothers who have time. Time in the Black community is a commodity rarely seen. While there have been great strides, I do not count out, there is still much progress to be made. Our closeness to legal segregation and our present reality, is 57 years—a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, and a father’s time away from me. I sit between the past and future, wondering what it will bring.
I was told the men and women who hold the center stage for protesting gun violence, don’t like “coaches from the sideline,” but that is what coaches do, they coach from the sideline, looking in to see where the problems may be—directing and steering so the entire team can win. Team, we have an issue: ‘Where Are the Black Mothers’? This special session is like a bad TV show. We need Black moms to bring this thing back down to reality, because it is their reality. This is not a show for them. This is a 24-hour on-call job that demands the most affected voices be in the room and steering it.
Where do we go from here? We shall see.