February Featured Article

How Do We Balance Love, Black History and the Reality of Police Brutality?

author: Avril McInally

It’s February. Our chronologies and calendars feature both Black History Month and Valentine’s Day (read this month's parent conversation theme, February Intersections: Love and Black History Month). Fresh on our minds, is the recent murder of Tyre Nichols. As we attempt to process the pain and the confusion, we are reminded of how vital it is to the intricacies of the Black experience and celebrate Black excellence every single day of the year. As the world and our media shouts, “love, love, and more love” and “Black history is important and relevant,” we sit with the reality of how urgent it is for white people to be anti-racist and work to truly have empathy for what it means to be a Black person in the world today!

I began writing this column around the release of the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols’ video - January 27, 2023. While sorting out my own complicated thoughts and emotions on whether or not to “witness” the video, I held a twin reckoning of my children’s reactions to seeing the video. How do I do this? How do I hold my own fear and concern while making space for my children’s fears also? Then, my phone blew up with text messages from other parents, who were like me, worried not only about their children seeing the video but also their extended family members of adoption, their friends and the Black community at large. Like them, the concern snowballed quickly from my family, to my community to the more universal community of Black and brown folk living with these brutal conditions of race in America day in and day out! How to love? How to respect? How to protect? How to care? How to have compassion? How to make change? How to engage? These are all questions we can ask ourselves not only at times like this (when, absurdly, the media is celebrating February’s themes of love and Black beauty while simultaneously featuring assaults on Black people), but all year long.

In part 5 of April’s, “How to Love a Transracially Adopted Person”, she writes, “I can’t help but wonder if all of these losses of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters are actually my Black and Brown brothers and sisters. I wonder if I will lose members of my family of origin before I find them. I wonder if they are ok and as I am worrying about them I realize I need people to worry about me and wonder if I am ok. I need my loved ones around me to recognize that these heartbreaking losses hit me different and I am losing part of myself.”

How are you checking in with your children right now? How are you supporting them and listening to them? How are you checking in with the Black and Brown community and showing them support and love too? This awareness and diligence is my forever Valentine to my children and to the people who share their race.

In the words of Nikki Giovanni, remember:

"Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us."

This post is from our February, 2023, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.