We Dream Too
By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw
I was an 11-year-old girl caught up in the matrix. Self-conscious about my looks and deeply melanin-infused skin. My appreciation for my beauty came soon when my sixth-grade teacher Ms. Price teacher — on our first day of class — pulled out a book on Ancient Egypt and told all the African-American and Dominican kids in the class that we would learn about our real history.
I spent a lot of my young years as a dreamer—obsessed with cartoons and writing poetry. I liked dolls but I never played house. I never envisioned myself as Molly the homemaker. I witnessed dysfunction in my home for many years, which eventually made the difficult transition to a single-mother home. I didn’t know what a stable, healthy, two-parent home looked like—something I rarely saw in Harlem, where I lived as a child.
During my formative years, I recognized that my self-esteem and would have been more solid if I had a loving father around to dote on me. The large numbers of fatherless homes in our community hurts the progress of Black folks in America. From its inception during slavery, the Black Family in America morphed into a traumatic and unstable structure.
This MLK season, I dream of an American society in which little Black girls and Black boys don’t suffer abandonment issues because they lack the loving and positive presence of both their parents. I want them to grow up to be more psychologically sound than the generations before, devoid of family baggage. In a trying world, family must be our safe haven—a foundation to prepare and to protect us.
My dream requires a serious national discussion, more fatherhood/single motherhood organizations, and an effort by our entire American society to restore the importance of two-parent households. As adults, we must work to provide better environments for our children than the ones that we knew.
I hold great hope for the future because many of us do our best to better the family experience for our young people—a powerful contribution to the future of our nation.