Reflections on Mother’s Day
As I look forward to sharing today with my son, I am acutely aware of why I’m running for Board of Education. I’m raising a young son whose peace was disturbed by a shooting at our building. It didn’t make the news, but the trauma is significant. I worry about what experiencing that will do to him.
Of course, raising a Black son comes with a good helping of anxiety and single motherhood serving as the gravy on top. When he entered public school, I realized none of the volunteers at his school looked like him. So I started volunteering, which led me to the PTA, which led me to Board of Education meetings and education advocacy, which led me to this moment right now. Because I wanted my son and other children like him to know that people that look like them can do this work. Once upon a time, Durham politics were all white, and we’ve come a long way. The very idea of multiple Black candidates running for school board in a district once ruled by Jim Crow is pretty impressive.
So here we are, at a moment in history when I am running in a majority white voting district as one of two Black candidates. Some might say I shouldn’t bother because it’s just too important to have a Black person on the Board. We don’t want to risk losing after all. But years of advocacy work have taught me this: you’ll never get what you don’t ask for.
As a mother, I’m trying to teach my child not only that he can be in leadership roles in the community, but also that he can use that role to do incredible things. If elected, I will be the first Black woman to represent this overwhelmingly white district. While I cannot claim to be the trailblazer that Mayor Elaine O’Neal is, this moment in history is significant. But that’s not why I’m running. Because representation has always mattered, but advocacy matters more. And I’m running for this seat not just as a working-class, Black single mother, but as all of that with ideas that can revolutionize our schools. I am running to ensure that all families, not just the ones with enough privilege, have a seat at the table in our schools. I’m running for equity and resources and humanity. I believe that Durham is a place where families matter, and I can’t think of a better time to center that idea than today, mother’s day.