From MAR International Founder and CEO, Natasha McNeil
I personally have never been more consumed by politics and the journey of the inauguration than I have this year. Within Moms Against Racism, I’ve been very intentional about supporting myself and other moms to get involved in the political process. I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve been able to use social media platforms to host political discussions in MAR. We’ve focused on the importance of voting, the role of women in politics, bipartisanship, and why it’s important to model this participation for our kids.
Then, it all culminated in the achievements of women: For years, Stacy Abrams led the charge in registering eligible voters in Georgia, women protected the ballots during an invasion of the capitol building, and a woman was sworn into the office of Vice President!
Watching the inauguration was a reflective moment for me as a black woman because I have hoped and dreamed that a woman, who looks like me, could be in the executive office. So, as I watched Kamala Harris be sworn in, I took a moment to reflect on all that has happened in the past year, in my lifetime, and all I can say is “Wow!”
As a mom, the inauguration of a new president means hope. I think a lot of us have felt hopeless for our children as they witness the behavior of the adults around them - particularly over the past year. I have often wondered “What story are they seeing when they witness these events from their vantage point?” Now, as the page turns to a new year, a new administration, we are starting a new story and that’s hopeful. One day, our children are going to live in this world without us, so I hope that they focus on the hopefulness that surrounds them when adults work together to solve problems. Rather than seeing stories that end in hopelessness, I hope that they can watch inauguration after inauguration and see hope instead.
I’m inspired by the persistence of our nation, particularly the persistence of women, of the BIPOC community, and all the groups that have had to be persistent to get us to where we are now. All these groups have experienced a number of defied odds, and their persistence has led to a combined victory for the BIPOC community. When we are persistent together, we can take our inspiration, put it into action, and turn the page together. We can change the narrative.
That’s why I was inspired to launch Moms Against Racism. It’s because of my sons. They’re my “Why.” As I watched George Floys use his final breaths to call out for his mom, I put myself in his mother’s shoes, and I asked myself “What can I do to change that narrative?” My sons’ lives are banking on whether or not I’m doing something, and I want to be able to tell them that I did everything in my power to change the way our communities live together and embrace differences.
My hope is that MAR International will meet the needs of moms around the world as they walk their own parenting journeys. I see it as our mission to aid them in emotional support, educational resources, gaining tools for raising their kids, and changing the way our communities function. I don’t want other moms to feel like they have to do all this alone. There’s far too much that we have in common as moms for our differences to prevent us from working together -- I mean, between talking about poop and toys and conflict resolution, we could spend hours talking about motherhood without even broaching the subject of race -- but as MAR, we are here to fight alongside Moms, guide them, not judge them, and support them for the moments when the topic of race is the necessary focal point.
Too many women in our group have had too many losses and we need to support each other so that we win together. MAR is allowing me the unique vantage point from which to see how I’m raising my sons. Through MAR, I benefit from the hindsight of other moms who are further along in their parenting journey and have realized that I can set up an opportunity to change the story for my own children. A lot has happened in this first year of MAR and our future is full of awesome opportunities. And all I can say is…