Saturday at 8am on WCLK's The Local Take I reached out to a few moms that I know, Lauren Waits and Kat Kestin. I think they have the solution to turn racism totally around. These are not the moms that we're used to hearing from who have "the talk" that has been discussed numerous times on multiple media outlets. I wanted to reach out to White mothers who have raised conscious children who are not color blind. Their children are empathetic and have always had diverse groups of friends. I think these are the people that can lead our society into enlightenment.
Our conversation starts with Lauren Waits mother to Crispin, Harper and Amelia Gambill. She speaks about wanting to raise kind, considerate people who would accept others as full and complete.
She shares that when she and her husband, Art Gambill, decided to adopt a baby girl, they knew that chances were it would be a transracial adoption. They discussed this and decided that if they couldn't successfully raise an African American daughter in Atlanta then something was wrong.
While Lauren had always enjoyed a diverse friendship base, she intentionally began to seek out and develop friendships with African-American women. She wanted to make sure that there would be women she could call on for advice and difficult conversations. Additionally she wanted to make sure that her daughter was exposed to successful women who looked like her.
She speaks about her children attending public schools and why this was important. Her children have also spent many summers in Mexico not only learning the language but appreciating the culture.
She intentionally mirrored the friendships that she wanted her children to develop. Lauren hosts an annual International Women's Day celebration with women from all over the world. Amelia and her friends began participating as well. I ask Lauren what advice she shares with other parents who ask her about parenting, she shares what she wishes all parents would do.
While considering this topic, I asked my producer Rob Maynard how was it that his daughter had cultivated a diverse friendship base made up of multiple races, genders and religions. He paused, looked me in my eyes and said "It was intentional." Kat Kestin, his wife and mother of Julia Maynard, speaks with us about why she felt the need to intentionally raise her daughter to be accepting of people who are different.
Kat explains that she grew up in New York City with friends of all backgrounds. She speaks about appreciating different cultural celebrations her whole life because of the community where she lived. She thinks that people are fearful of differences instead of finding excitement in discovery.
She speaks about her move to Atlanta and concerns about anti-semitism, but also remembered the Civil
Rights legacy of the city. Kat speaks to cultivating a diverse group of friends in Atlanta. She talks about sometimes reaching out to interesting people numerous times because she wants to speak to them or learn something about them. Sometimes this grows into a friendship. She wanted Julia to experience this as well not just as a suggestion, but because it's what their family does.
I ask Kat if she thinks her daughter was raised differently, she shares that children will follow their parent's lead and that you cannot let fear and ignorance keep you from cultivating a friendship with someone just because they don't look like you, or worship like you or love like you.
Kat shares that if parents raise their kids to be accepting and those kids grow up and raise their kids to accepting in one or two generation we'll be out of the quagmire of racial challenges. Fingers crossed.