My 1960s Mom Would Be Proud

June 5, 2020

My 1960’s mom would be proud of me, and my 2020 mom would be mad at me….and here is why.

My 1960’s mom was a house cleaner. She caught multiple buses to attend college classes at a time when overt racism was alive and thriving. She grew up in Oakland, California, where she sang in the choir and was a strong voice against racism. Mom was a Black Panther, afro wearing, fist in the air, single black woman.

She was probably a little more on the militant side. If I had to take a guess she was a crossover between supporting Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X, but a little bit more of the X. Especially during her younger years, as rebellious as a young Christian woman could be trying to balance her spirituality and finding herself as a woman. Today, I see the reflections of this energy in my sister, who is a straightforward, no-nonsense, racism-intolerant type of woman.

Then there is me….trying to find God’s love in everyone and everything. I was a 70’s kid. Where weed was the thing, peace signs adorned vehicles, and tie dye shirts were all the rage. You started to see more families moving into white neighborhoods and bi-racial couples were on the rise. So by the time we hit the 70’s, my mom was an advocate for peace and harmony.

And these are the reflections of Mom that you can see in me. I find ways to connect with people. I want them all to love each other and wholeheartedly appreciate each other’s differences. I love understanding culture, diversity and what makes us different, yet the same. I don’t want to be color blind, but to be blind to colorism.

This past Sunday, June 1, 2020, I protested. My first ever protest! My 1960’s mom would be proud of me for standing in the gap for those who are just not there yet. My mom today would have been terrified for my life and begged me not to go. How she has evolved!

The protest was an unforgettable experience. People had painted signs and messages on their cars about the murder of George Floyd. But I stood on that street corner yelling BLACK LIVES MATTER for my mom, who continued to endure racism throughout her lifetime. And for my sister, who was screamed at and called the N word on the playground. And for myself, the mom who had banana peels left in her car door and a nice note telling me to go back to Africa when I was 7 months pregnant (have I mentioned I have never been there before?). And, I protested for every single life that was senselessly lost at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and serve them.

I not only protested but I documented too…

All photos taken by Ty Pentecost Photography at the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Tracy, California.

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