Mamas Must Reclaim Our Space

Kara, her son and her daughter smile for a selfie.
Kara and her son and daughter.

Mamas Must Reclaim Our Space

If you look at the center of the movement, you’ll find stories like mine replicated a thousand times over by folks who look like me. I am a Black mama raising a young Black woman and a young Black trans man in the south. Most of us consider our greatest badge of honor to be our mamahood. We are the heartbeat of the social justice movement, which is critical because without the nurturing love of mamas there would be no movement.

My mamahood journey, much like most movement mamas, has been an interesting ride. I came into the movement because I’ve always desired freedom to let my children grow and organizing has just been one of the ways that I try to make space for them in this world. The only job that I have as a mama is to not let the world get in the way of who my babies want to be as humans. Whatever decisions they make, whatever they want to do, wherever they want to go, a big part of my mamahood has been to support their freedom and protect their joy as they figure out their own lives.

I am a Black mama raising a young Black woman and a young Black trans man in the south.

When my son told us he was transgender, I was grateful he felt free to come to us, gifting us with the opportunity to support him in every way possible.

Folks are often totally unfamiliar with the everyday obstacles big and small that impact trans people. Things that I have taken for granted my entire life as a cisgender woman. The perspective that I’m now able to offer to others who are unfamiliar is rooted in love. This is about folks who we love in our community that deserve our love and respect. I can never walk a day in his shoes. The only thing that I can do is try to be a voice so that he doesn’t always have to scream.

I had my kids young, so we’ve grown up together, and the formation of who I am as a person is anchored in my relationship to my kids, and not just personally, but in the work I do in the movement. Honestly, I wouldn’t know what my motivation would be if I didn’t have children. The fact is that there are so many mamas bringing to this movement the same fire and power that drives them as mamas. That is why mothers are fundamentally the engine that drives our movement and the work that we do. There is no stronger fuel for your power than the love you have for your children and for the people who you feel charged with protecting in this world.

Kara, her son and daugher stand side by side for a photo during a family outing.
Kara and her kids hanging out.
Kara, her son, daughter and husband pose for a family photo in formal attire.
Kara and family dressed for a night on the town
There were times when I often considered what it means to show up in the movement with my full self. “Will people think it is appropriate for me show up this way in this space or to have my kids with me?” It absolutely is. The movement is our space and we can’t allow folks to make us feel uncomfortable in it.

I intentionally make space, bring my kids and talk about my experiences as a mom—and not just the good ones. I talk about my struggles too. I try to be very intentional about it even when it makes me uncomfortable, because I don’t want anybody else to ever have discomfort around being your full self as a mama in this movement.

As mamas in the movement, we must always show up with our full selves.