Say their names.
As a Black mother, I know that one day my husband and I will have to have “The Talk” with our son.
We’ll have to talk to him about the “right way” to interact with law enforcement, and what to do when those confrontations happen with an officer: eyes down, voice soft, say “yes sir” and “no sir,” no sudden movements. As heartbreaking as “The Talk” can be, these warnings can sometimes feel like the only way to keep our children safe.
But what happens when we can’t even guarantee our own safety?
Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four, was killed by Seattle police — in front of her children — just this month.
In the same week, we relived the police-involved shooting death of Philando Castile. We watched a four-year-old maintain more composure than her short years should allow — keeping her mom calm even as she watched her father figure die in real time.
Enough is enough.
We stand in solidarity with the families of Nabra Hassanen, John Hernandez, Philando Castile, Charleena Lyles, and so many more who’ve lost their loved ones too soon.
I know you may not be used to seeing these kinds of messages from Make It Work. You’ve seen us be champions for a host of economic issues, including child care, but we refuse to have a policy debate in a vacuum that ignores the fears of millions of families in America.
Parents deserve to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are in safe, nurturing learning environments. Safe means safe when they get there and safe getting home. A critical part of the child care debate is having the ability to take care of our children by protecting them from experiencing or witnessing police violence, protecting them from the threat of raids at home or school, and shielding them from discrimination.
We know there’s a lot of fear, anger, heartbreak, and uncertainty that comes with being a parent of color in America. We also know how difficult it can be to stay focused on work and making ends meet when trauma feels so close to home.
Now, we want to hear from you.
The Make It Work community is a safe space to express how you’re feeling in this moment. What conversations are you having with your own children and loved ones? What are your fears, anxieties, and hopes right now? What future are you fighting for and what’s keeping you going?
Our voices are more important now than ever — not just in keeping up the fight, but in keeping up our will to fight. A lot of us face these feelings every day. They’re real. We wanted to take this time to say we’re with you.