Do you time how long it takes your children to walk somewhere in fear that they won’t come back? Do you have to ask a Walmart attendant for assistance when buying haircare because your products are locked up?
These are the topics that Lowry Manders and Denita Jones are bringing up in their Facebook group, “Lake Highlands Area Moms Against Racism.” The group gained 1,000 members in its first week.
Manders, the creator of the group, is the troop manager for the local Girl Scouts Troop. She’s found a new passion in this project.
“I’m trying to balance the three kinds of people; the white and nonblack POC activists that have been doing this for a while, the black moms who are sharing their experiences and the other people are white moms who are brand new to this and are still feeling uncomfortable and we don’t want to leave the page,” Manders says. “We are trying to create a safe place for everyone.”
The Facebook group has created a forum for conversations like anti-racism, the Black Lives Matter movement and personal experiences from neighbors.
Along with Manders, Denita Jones is the co-admin for the page.
“I wanted to make sure people understood that this is going to be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s going to be gut wrenching, and everybody is not going to be on the same level of acceptance,” Jones says. “Not everybody is ready to get on the lines and protest. Everybody has to take baby steps.”
A part of that growth included a discussion on how “All Lives Matter” is offensive to black people with the help of Tracey Brown, who will be a featured speaker for the page.
“We’re not saying only black lives matter, we’re saying black lives matter too,” Jones says.
Jones says she has introduced different concepts of being a black mom that most other moms don’t think about.
“I know how long it takes my kids to go to certain places and come back. At the top of your head, do you know it takes 22 minutes to walk to Whataburger? We have to keep up with that,” Jones says. ” I love that the women are eager to learn, they’re eager to recognize their own implicit biases that they probably didn’t know that’s what they were.”
The group plans to start a series called, “Conversations with Neighbors,” where they speak on different topics like black trans lives and the Latinx community.
Although the page title says moms, the group is open to non-moms like teachers, grandparents and dads.
“I just feel like there’s something empowering about moms coming together and it feels like a safe place to be yourself and there’s strength in the moms takings action. I’m happy for other people who are helpful in our village in raising anti-racists,” Manders says.
The two hope to create different chapters of the organization so that other neighborhoods can spread their work.
“It was considered impolite to talk about race, but it’s a necessity. We have to talk about it,” Manders says.