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Next to You


During this Women’s History Month, let me remind you that you do not have to go far to celebrate the contributions of women to our society. Perhaps, in your home, you have a girlfriend, wife, sister, mother, cousin, auntie, or grandmother worthy of recognition. If you live alone, appreciate the women at your job.

Whatever environment you find yourself in today, prioritize acknowledging the valuable work that women have done to keep society moving forward. For example, if the temperature is cold where you live and your home has central heating, a woman made the warmth you felt last night possible. Alice H. Parker filed the patent and created the design for the central heating system that keeps houses warm during the winter months.

Maybe you grew up in an era that preached women belong at home. That rhetoric was popular during my middle-class, two-parent household on Chicago’s southside and the surrounding south suburbs. Despite progress, sexist practices and beliefs remain with us today.

Let’s remain grateful for the women who gave us and our offspring life and give thanks for the multitude of tasks they do outside of our families. We have the power to transform our world, but the changes we want must begin at home and in our community.

The acceptable Oprah Winfrey and polarizing Angela Davis never had children of their own but helped shape politics, policies, and practices. Among other philanthropic endeavors, Oprah Winfrey used her financial resources and entertainment status to build a school in South Africa. From Angela Davis’ early participation in freedom movements through the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to her current work as a university professor, she led activists to challenge the injustices of the prison system.

How can you raise children to respect and admire women? Continue reading to learn about my efforts, and maybe you will find something duplicable in your life.

My sons and daughter attend a school where most of the teaching staff are women. We frequently talk about the importance of respecting their teachers.

Education spaces are often easy targets for aiming efforts to encourage young people to see women's leadership skills in action.

We are also intentional about exposing our children to successful women outside of school. My wife and I introduce them to doctors, entrepreneurs, and professional athletes who identify as women. Without a doubt, our social circles make this feasible.

Think about your friends and strategize for opportunities to expand your network. Also, believe you can create similar experiences for your children from the comfort of your home.

Remember, you don’t have to go far.

Are you familiar with MasterClass, the online course subscription service that offers courses from famous leaders, athletes, musicians, actors, and authors? The portal has classes that range from cooking with Gordon Ramsay to improving your jump shot with Steph Curry. I subscribed to learn more about writing from some of my favorite novelists, scholars, and journalists.

Through MasterClass, I enrolled in the course "Black History, Freedom, and Love." Notable activists and professors, including Cornel West, Angela Davis, and Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, lead the modules. Last week, I made my children sit down on the couch and watch a ten-minute episode of an Angela Davis lecture.

In the video, Davis talked about the importance of seeing the humanity in the enslaved Africans responsible for the foundation of the United States' robust economy.

She spoke about how Africans in America were dehumanized but never lost hope in their dreams and community. Via the short lesson, Davis raised the volume on the silenced but significant contributors to US society.

After we finished the video, I turned to my children and said, “When I met your mother in college, she wore a t-shirt with the face of Angela Davis on the front.” They smiled, and I continued to tell them how I was first attracted to their mom because of her pride in Black history and intelligence.

Now, don’t let me paint a picture of a self-righteous person who doesn’t see the physical side of other human beings. I thought my wife was beautiful before we started dating, but it was her thoughtful contributions to a class that analyzed the history of African-Americans and the law that sealed our future together. She was more than a beauty with a booty:)

Without phenomenal women like Angela Davis, my mother, five sisters, and my wife, I would not be the man I am today. Whatever spark you see in my work, know the ignitor came from the many lessons they taught me. I am not a perfect man, and I've made some mistakes with women, but I have attempted to learn from my failures.

In my latest book, Dear Brother, you can read multiple poems reflecting my education and personal experiences.

If you don’t want to invest in MasterClass or my books, search on YouTube to view footage of the Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings. Whether you agree with her political stances or oppose them, Jackson’s efforts to correct injustices are impossible to dismiss.

After reading this week's blog post, tell someone who identifies as a woman that you appreciate them. If you are genuine in your expression, the recipient will feel the sentiment, and you will have contributed to the celebrations of Women's History Month. Recognizing the ladies in our lives is the minimum that we can do in exchange for the many sacrifices made by women to build civilization.

Subscribe to this blog for future posts on supporting, loving, and partnering with the women in our lives.

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1 Comment

I recollect the angel announced to Mary, then confirmed with Joseph. Without a mother we all would not be we. Who else would have tolerated our squirming, inside.

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