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My Blinders Are Off: What Trayvon Taught Me About Parenting

August 27, 2013
Note from the writer: As a construct of our society, racism in the United States is a hard pill to swallow for those of us raising brown babies. How do we teach out kids to be aware (and stay alive), while encouraging hopes and dreams for a better world? In 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, much as changed. But like many moms, I still struggle with the balance of preaching tolerance and love for all, while demanding a more just society. -Vanessa Bell, De Su Mama This blog post originally appeared in SpanglishBaby . I have this way of dealing with things that are really really...
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Sterilization Abuse: Not Just in Our Past

August 14, 2013
As North Carolina becomes the first state to agree to provide financial compensation to people who suffered under government-run sterilization programs, the California Legislature is finally grappling with reports of modern-day sterilization abuse in its prison system. Confronting Eugenics in the Tar Heel State Governor Pat McCrory signed the budget crafted by the North Carolina Legislature, which inlcudes $10 million for people who were sterilized under an aggressive state campaign to extinguish the fertility of people whom social workers, doctors, and government officials deemed unfit to...
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On Trayvon Martin and Fear

August 7, 2013
Trayvon Martin and his dad, Tracy Martin Cross-posted from Carolyn Edgar: Notes of a Lawyer, Writer, and Single Mom The acquittal of George Zimmerman leaves me fearful. I fear for my friend’s 15-year-old son. He plays football for his suburban high school. He is already 6’ 2” and still growing. And despite his baby face, the Zimmerman trial reminds us that, despite his age, his combination of race and size render him a threat. I fear for my daughter’s friends – African, Jamaican, Vietnamese, and African-American. I love having these young men in my house, loose-limbed and full of teenage boy...
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Assault Weapons Ban (or Not): My Brief Foray into Local Politics

July 31, 2013
On Monday night there was a town hall meeting to discuss a local gun control measure. The backstory is that Illinois was required by the SCOTUS to create a concealed carry weapons policy. We were the last state to do so. I wasn’t following along closely about the way it played out in Springfield, but it was kind of a mess. Governor Quinn vetoed the policy and legislators overrode the veto. Ultimately municipalities had 10 days to create their own gun laws.10 days to develop an concealed carry/assault weapons policy.Also, each town that developed a policy was required to create its own...
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"Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago." - Pres. Barack Obama

July 24, 2013
In the wake of the collective sadness and disappointment across the country when George Zimmerman was allowed to walk away free after killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, our President spoke as a parent and shared this heartfelt statement: “When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son.” ~ President Barack Obama As parents, we know how vulnerable our children can be everyday. But while our children are among the most vulnerable, they also are among those who have the biggest potential to help move our nation toward a better future. In fact, history shows us that...
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"My STRAIGHT Son Was Repeatedly Denied Promotions For 'Being Gay'"

July 18, 2013
I love my son. Like any mother, I would do anything for him -- anything to make sure that he can live up to his potential and fulfill all of his dreams. That's why I was completely stunned when my son -- my straight son -- was refused promotions at work for being gay. I grew up in a small town in southeastern Ohio where everyone looked like me. There was zero diversity in my early childhood. As I moved into junior high, I began hearing words like "sissy," and "dyke"...all describing people I considered friends. After my first year of college, my friend Michelle was the first person who came...
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A mom and marine vet on gun safety

July 16, 2013
Charlotte Brock made this statement to lawmakers and the news media at MomsRising's July 9 " Moo with MomsRising " gun safety action on Capitol Hill. I am a mom and a veteran of the Marine Corps, where I served for seven years. I’d like to talk to you about firearm safety and the significance of passing legislation to ensure everyone who purchases a gun legally in this country passes a criminal background check. In the Marine Corps, before a recruit ever touches a weapon, he or she goes through a rigorous selection process including psychological evaluation, mental ability tests, and a...
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"My darkest hour"

July 15, 2013
Yesterday our hearts went out to Trayvon Martin's mother, who tweeted this: "Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have...Thank you all for your prayers and support... I will love you forever Trayvon!!!" ~ Sybrina Fulton, July 14, 2013 As mothers, we stand with Sybrina Fulton. We stand for advancing gun safety policies, for ending racial profiling, and for eliminating dangerous laws, like the "stand your ground" law in Florida, all of which contributed to Trayvon Martin's untimely death at age 17. In February of 2012, George Zimmerman admittedly followed Trayvon Martin...
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Moms Stand With Sybrina Fulton And With All Moms Who've Lost Children to Gun Violence

July 14, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sunday, 14 July 2013 Statement by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of, on justice for Trayvon Martin and last night’s Court ruling: “As mothers, we stand with Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mom, and with all the moms who've lost their children to gun violence. We stand for advancing gun safety policies and for eliminating dangerous gun laws, like the "stand your ground" law in Florida that contributed to Trayvon Martin's untimely death at age seventeen. MomsRising has long stood for gun violence prevention as well as for fair treatment and...
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What every parent should know about our juvenile justice system

July 12, 2013
I’m one of those moms who sees danger in every corner. I check for ticks, apply sun screen, and make sure my child is buckled into her car seat. I take it as my personal responsibility to ensure her safety. This taking of responsibility is a theme for our family. When my daughter messes up, I make sure she takes responsibility for her actions and try to help her do the right thing the next time. One important way I do this is to teach her to treat others as she herself wants to be treated. That’s a golden rule in our household -- and it’s central to the work I do, as well. Let me explain. I’...
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