10.20.2009

Black Women in America: “Raising Boys”

(The following is Part I in a series of exclusive blogs written by single mothers leading up to the Houston premiere of "Raising Boys" on November 5.)

Written by Malaika Gardner

My name is Malaika Gardner and I have been blessed to be a part of a life-changing documentary entitled “ Raising Boys”, a solution-oriented presentation of the single parenthood phenomenon and its effect on the Black Male.

I am a working single mother and I have determined that neither my children nor myself will be the losers in this situation. I believe we will succeed, but it is proving wrong the assumed end result of this ideal that makes my job so hard.

It would be much easier if I were unaware of the facts surrounding young girls birthed to single mothers in our community. It would be easier if I was unaware of the reality of black men and the prison industrial complex in our communities. It would be so much easier if I would be content with a mediocre future for my family but I am not that female. Most single mothers have dreams for their children and for themselves but many are eventually defeated by the juggling act, paralyzed by the fatigue or drowned by the pain caused by the bleakness of their reality.

Myself, I grew up without a father but I had a warrior mother who gave me what she could. She taught me to value my spirituality, family, education and to always work harder than the next. Unfortunately nothing can replace a father’s presence and love. I managed to graduate high school and college without succumbing to the stereotypical scenario believed for most children of single mothers.

(Photo: Malaika Gardner (r) with her mother Zainabu Berete)

By 22 I was a single parent. How did this happen to me? Long story people but not too different from the sister who never graduated high school and had three children by the time she was 22 years old.

What I give thanks for are the core values I was able to retain during my formative years. These values are what prepared me to carry the burden of the parental responsibility alone. I know this journey will continue to be a struggle because struggle eludes no circumstance.

As long as there is breath in my body and God in my heart, I will settle for nothing short of a beautiful destiny. Every day I wake up with a queen warrior’s face, graceful stature and ready to fight for the greatest cause one could dedicate their life to, the future of the Black Family, The Original Family…………. Wow! Gotta go! I’m late! Time waits for no woman. Next time family! Peace!

P.S. Watch my story November 5, 2009 at the Angelika Theatre as we premiere a solution-oriented documentary that we hope will change your life: “Raising Boys”. Click below to RSVP.