(Little Aa'Myah, one of my three beautiful children)
By: Leticia Santee, a Single Mother
It’s 2010 and time to put aside the negativity, the name bashing, the jealously, the envy, and most importantly OUR PRIDE. Ladies we are not the only minority group dwelling in the United States, however, we are the most talked about. The question is: WHY? Let’s examine some of the reasons we are the center of so much controversy: morality rates for African-American women are higher than any other racial or ethnic group for nearly every major cause of death, including breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. African-American women are 85% more likely to get diabetes, a major complication for heart disease. In the past fifty years, the percentage of African American women aged 25-54 who have never been married has doubled from 20% to 40%, and the divorce rate is even higher for the small percent that have. And let’s not forget the winner of all controversy: the fact that 70% of our children are born to single mothers because either the man is incarcerated, has taken a “permanent” leave of absence, is deceased, or we just don’t know who he is. Well I say it’s time for a 360 and it’s apparent we can’t do it alone so for 2010 let’s do something different and try unity.
So you ask why we as black women have to unite. Well if the facts listed above aren’t enough, I have one simple word: CHANGE! African-American women have become the dominate figure in their household, if not the only parental figure, so it is important for us to educate each other on how we can achieve goals, live longer and healthier life styles, raise successful children (especially males), and obtain and keep healthy relationships. It is imperative that our children understand that they don’t have to be a statistic, and I think that President Obama has taken the first step in saying so. We must unite to change housing situations for our children and decrease poverty levels. How can we expect anyone else to change these circumstances and situations for us when they aren’t the ones experiencing them? We as African-American women have the power to create change in our lives and most importantly the lives of our children….positive change. When we change, society’s perception of us will change, BUT NOT UNTIL THEN. Help one another by being understanding and not judgmental; after all no matter how perfect you think your life may be…IT’S NOT. Together we can take a stand against the increased number of HIV/AIDS victims by holding awareness rallies and presenting information on prevention. We can help raise productive children by joining together and creating groups where we can feed them positive values and morals through emotional, physical and spiritual guidance. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.
For those of you who have healthy and loving relationships or marriages, offer advice to single friends and loved ones so they can make better decisions about the men they choose. And ladies, my African-American sisters, stop pointing the finger at each other; we have enough being pointed at us already.
The next time you see another sister sick, struggling, hurt, disappointed, broke, or on the verge of giving up, take her hand and assure her that whatever it is she is going through, you are there for her. When you see a mother one step away from a breakdown, ask her how you can help. Let’s take the negatives and turn them into positives. We can do it...together. WE MUST STAND FOR SOMETHING AND STOP FALLING FOR ANYTHING (especially when it comes to relationships). Again, I say it is 2010 and time for a change within our gender. Let’s change those statistics, diminish poverty levels, and turn the divorce rate around. We need to increase two-parent households, raise boys to be productive males, decrease the incarceration rate of our sons, and give the world something positive to talk about. I hope that you will join me in swallowing my pride for a better us.
(Leticia Canton is a single mother of three children. She is graduating from college this year with a degree in criminal investigations. She recently launched a blog to unite single Black mothers. Visit at: http://saamut.blogspot.com)