Educating the system. From the N word to advocacy.

Last year an elected school board official in Ontario, Canada, called Charline Grant the N-word. Then that official refused to resign and blamed ‘old age’ and ‘dementia’ for her use of the N-word.  Charline battled the school board until a resignation happened and then she took it upon herself to run for School Trustee.  She’s a trail blazer, who is giving voice to the struggles that Black students and parents face on a daily basis in the education system.  This is her story, it’s my story and it’s the story of the Black experience in education and how we have to educate the system to work for us

Charline Grant
Charline Grant, Mom of 3 and School Board Trustee Candidate 2018

We reference a few reports in this podcast that you should read.

The first is a report by Dr. Carl James called Towards Race in Education.  If you are a teacher, if you are a Black parent, if you are someone interested in education or human rights…read this report.  You can’t read it and not be appalled by what it says and the outcomes for Black students in Toronto, Canada.

Another report to read is the Under Suspicion report, put out by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. It talks about racial profiling in general- but also spends time focusing on racial profiling in Education.

You can follow Charline Grant on twitter at:  @charlineGrant

Listen to the episode here:

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Self love as told by an ant, a hill and a house for sale

I am always looking for new books for the boy child and little madam. One of the great things about the internet is the access it gives us to books that are diverse, representative and reflective of different stories. So, I am always super excited when I hear of new books coming out. This one, Anthill For Sale by Johnny Ray Moore, is one for the holiday book list.

Anthill Mock (1)
In all honesty, I was skeptical when I first picked it up, but it’s a charming book with a great lesson about appreciating and valuing what you have, especially when others don’t. The book is illustrated beautifully, and the story is told in an upbeat and lyrical way, so kids will love it. Parents will love the nuisances of the book (in other words, you won’t fall asleep reading it).
The story surprised me, the pictures are so lively and the story itself is told in a way that is so animated. The sentimentality of the story surprised me too. Have you ever had to move? All those feelings of excitement and longing to stay where you are, worry about loosing the memories you made in your home, are all captured in this book.ladybug

But for me as a Black mom, I drew deeper meaning as well about seeing value in yourself especially when others don’t. Alvin the ant is shocked and upset that people won’t love his home and value the same things he values about his home in the same way. The story is about self love for me. It is about learning to value yourself and essentially protecting yourself, from other’s who may unwittingly bring you down. So deep right? Who knew an ant, a hill and a for sale sign could be so inspiring. That’s when you know you’ve found a good kids book I guess. When the message is subtle, but strong enough to leave kids with a beautiful lesson.
If you get a copy, let me know what you think. Drop a comment.

A chat with Black Moms Connection founder Tanya Hayles

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Tanya Hayles, Founder, Black Moms Connection

When the boy child was 5 years old, he called me ‘Blackie’ and proudly told me that his friend from school told him that ‘Blackie’ was another word for Black people.  To say I was shocked, upset, angry was an understatement.

That moment, that time the boy child called my a racial slur, was my awakening.   Aside from the racial slur, this was the period when the boy child decided he didn’t want to be black, that he wanted blond straight hair. It was the time he would cry anytime I came near his head with a comb.  It was also the summer I had to explain to a crying six year old that no, he couldn’t have the toy gun that someone had bought him for his birthday, because a little boy named Tamir Rice had just been killed, playing with a toy gun in a park.  And, it was the summer that I was kicked out of a mainstream moms group because I was looking for support and asked if any other Black moms wanted to connect. Despite all this…it was the summer I found my village…Black Moms Connection.

In the season 2 finale of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast, I chat with the founder of the Black Moms Connection group, Tanya Hayles about all things Black Motherhood….and Black Panther…just because.

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Living Your Best Life While Doing Life Afraid

Imagine this…You are living in Atlanta, Donald Trump has just won the election. You are shocked, you are in disbelief. You look over at your young son, his Black life matters more than anything in the world to you. Like so many Black mothers in the US, you worry for his future, you stress at the education systems private and public that are failing him, you worry about the preconceptions about his Black body that could cut his life short,  so the next day, you wake up and put in an application for a passport. In a year, you’ll be on a plane headed for mexico, scared, but sure that at least for now, you’re making the right decision.    Meet Aja Rutledge.  This is her story.

AJa
Aja Rutledge

In her own words, ‘Aja is a former corporate, working mom who ditched it all and left the hustle and bustle to explore the world with her son. They see the world as their teacher and their travels as their lessons. Through fear, Aja travels and pushes boundaries to live her dreams while teaching her son to live his through example. Aja is an advocate for travel as an education, solution and lifestyle. She documents her journey on her blog, Doing Life Afraid, helps single moms move abroad through her online course, The Single Mom’s Path to Freedom: How International Living Can Change the Game and fulfills others travel dreams through her travel agency, bTripping.

On this week’s podcast, I chat with Aja about her story, how she made the move to Mexico, her plans for the future and her story.

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The Secret Lives of Black Mothers

When I scheduled this latest conversation for the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast. It was meant to be three people talking about the idea of achievement being equated to ‘acting white’ and the phrase ‘Oreo cookie’ that is hurled at Black kids who don’t fit the ‘stereotype.’   This episode does talk about that issue, but my conversation with fellow blogger, Trish Frempong of Confessions of a Hustling Mama, is also about so much more.  It captures all of the complications, uncertainty, joy and pain of parenting and living as a Black mother.

“My kids are not safe in their school”
“I would make myself small in social situations”
“A colleague called me a bounty bar, because they said I acted white”Just a few nuggets from this episode the Woke Mommy Chatter Podcast. If you listen to only one episode – this is the one to listen to.Trish

Listen as we explore education and learning while Black, working while Black and just the experience of living and existing in a Black body and how that impacts the way we parent our kids.

This isn’t an episode to miss.

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Part 2: Not leaning in but not leaning out podcast with Brianne DeRosa

This week, I’m concluding my conversation with Brainne DeRosa, authour of the Red, Round or Green blog, about a recent article she wrote for Motherwell Magazine, ‘On not leaning in, but not leaning out.’

We continue our chat about flexibility in the workforce, compare notes on Canada’s maternity leave vs. America’s. We chat about race and privilege and the realities that many women, including women of colour or single women are never afforded the choice to lean in or out. It’s an insightful discussion with Brianne. Be sure to check it out.

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The Push for Work Life Balance

I-want-to-be-a-mother-for-more-than-just-one-hour-a-day-1024x576-1518045111I recently wrote an article about only having one hour a day to spend with my kids if I accept a full-time 9-5, no flexibility job. One hour. That is my reality, and for me, that is not acceptable.    Why is it that in a world (at least in Canada), where maternity leave has been extended to two years and where men are now being given the opportunity to take six weeks off after the birth of a child, flexible working once women go back to work and children get older, seems elusive.

In this episode of the podcast, I chat with Brainne DeRosa, authour of the Red, Round or Green blog, about a recent article she wrote for Motherwell Magazine, ‘On not leaning in, but not leaning out.’

This is a two part discussion.

Download  PART I of the podcast.

Woke Mommy ChatterSubscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

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The Traumatic Three’s, Elsa and the Black Village gone wrong

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Having a three year old sucks.  Anyone who tells you differently is either delusional or on a strong dose of Vicodin or likely both….because they have a three year old, or as that age is now commonly known- a ‘threenager.’

On episode three of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast, I am talking to three fellow moms, Rahema, Felicia owner of  @Justuseventstoronto and Trish- creator of the @ConfessionsofaHuslingMama blog on Instagram.   We are unpacking the traumatic three’s and what it’s like parenting a threenager with the added layer of blackness.

Woke Mommy ChatterSubscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

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Searching for my own Wakanda

Killmonger-WKabi-and-TChalla-Black-PantherThe Black Panther movie was epic!  It was magnificent and just completely and utterly excellent.  But, it also left me thinking about the complicated connection that all of us of African ancestry, living in the diaspora, have to the land from which our ancestors were taken.  My own family tree is a network of blank spots and unanswered questions. Simply, because we don’t know the answer to the question of who our people were. Our history of quite literally stolen from us.

My sister though, has spent over 10 years trying to piece together the pieces of our family history and on the latest episode of the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast, I talk to her about her journey, reveal her DNA test results and chat about a family ancestor that could be the key to our African roots.

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6279379/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/“>Listen to the Podcast

 

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Subscribe to the Woke Mommy Chatter podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

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