Dear white friends—I need you to love my sons as they grow into black men
Jacalyn Wetzel

Hey friend,

Do you remember me? It's been a while, I know. I sat behind you in civics in junior high.

Do you remember me? You were my base on the cheer squad, and once you caught my head just before it hit the ground after a long day of stunting.

You don't remember? Our boys played together on the soccer team in 4th grade.

We drank wine out of solo cups in college together.

You totally remember. My vernacular is so similar to your own that it's a running joke that I'm not actually Black, but I am.

And so are my boys.


Friend, I don't get deep enough with you and it's not your fault. I just see the quick twist in your face that quickly screams "I'm uncomfortable" when I broach the subject of race.

Discomfort I can deal with most days, but some days it's more than discomfort. Some days it's disbelief, and that hurts more, so I don't tell you.

I don't tell you the fear I feel on a daily basis as my boys continue to grow. I don't tell you that all on their own they've developed a healthy fear of the police, and even the school resource officer.

I don't tell you that my oldest son has said "the SRO treats the Black kids meaner. It gives me anxiety."

I don't tell you that even though we are careful not to watch these awful videos of unarmed people getting shot, your children are showing them at school, and my children have noticed the theme.

I would never tell you that as they shoot up to be as tall as I am, soon to tower over me, that my mama heart breaks for reasons you'll never fully grasp.

I'd never tell you that at the ripe age of 14, my son "fits the description," and his brother is not far behind.

I would never tell you that, because you can't imagine that being truth. You know my boys. You know their hearts. You know they're the sweetest, most respectful and helpful children you've met. The thought of anyone seeing them as a threat just does not cross your mind.

I love you for loving my boys, I do. But I need you to love them enough to demand change so parents that look like me aren't afraid our children aren't going to make it home.

I need you to love them enough to not just see them as your sons, but to see all boys that look like them as your potential sons.

I need you to love them like you love your own sons, because this world doesn't. Love them because my mama heart cannot handle another man being shot that looks like my brothers, cousins, uncles, and sons.

Love them because my son has said the words "I can't breathe" when talking about how seeing a police car makes him feel.

Love them because my big brother likes to jog.

Love them because my younger brother has the best contagious laugh you've ever heard.

Love them because my baby brother has the sweetest soul, but it takes him a while to say things. He gets excited and his stutter gets in the way.

Love them because the movie American Son is so many Black mothers' realities.

Love them so it does not become my reality.

Love them and demand America do the same.

You know me. I'm your friend.


Jacalyn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, writer and a mother of 4. She runs the blog Stop Yelling Please and has been featured in publications such as HuffPost, Today Parenting Team, Filter Free Parents, Her View From Home and more. She's an advocate for justice and believes everyone has the power to be an agent of change

This post was originally published on Jacalyn Wetzel's blog, Stop Yelling Please. You can read it here.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

Keep Reading Show less
True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

I worked as a substitute teacher in my early 20s, almost exclusively in middle schools and high schools—my age of specialty. Once, I accepted a two-day subbing assignment in a first grade classroom. Only once. Halfway through the first day, as the kids ate lunch in the cafeteria, I sat at the teacher's desk in an exhausted daze. Teaching little kids was a completely different animal than teaching big kids. While adorable, they had so many needs and so little attention span. It was like herding a bunch of flies that constantly needed to go potty.

Trying to herd those flies virtually during a pandemic is too much to even fathom.

So the real-time story that mom and writer Stephanie Lucianovic shared on Twitter of what happened when her son's second grade teacher dropped from the class Zoom call was not the least bit surprising. Hilariously entertaining, but not surprising.

Keep Reading Show less
Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

Keep Reading Show less