DEAR SALEM & SAIGE
1st May 2021.
Words by A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez. Photography by Samantha Sophia.
This is again with immense pride that we are introducing this letter written by award-winning writer
A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez. We discovered A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez through her poignant article published on Vox following the murder of George Floyd entitled 'The unbearable grief of Black mothers' published in May 2020. 'When unmasked, we Black mothers fear our loved ones will suffer from the risks associated with complications from the disease. When masked, we fear the risks associated with complications of bias and racism., the journalist is referring in her article.
Alongside her works as a journalist, she has also created the movement and project #FreeBlackMotherhood -'A revolutionary movement that encourages Black women to experience joy, sadness, and everything in between, within the context of motherhood.'
Discover the powerful letter, the author is addressing to her children.
Cheyenne Wyoming 19 March 2021
Dear Salem & Saige I have many wishes for your lives.
I wish that I could take back every time that I yelled at you out of fear that it was my responsibility to give you thick skin before the world could try to cut you. I wish that I knew the words that could act as a balm to provide you a layer of protection that doesn’t come from a source of pain.
I wish I knew how to parent you with intention first and fears never. Right now, I am drowning under the weight of trying to work hard and use every opportunity I can to build the world that gives you the freedom that you deserve. And these days, those labors cost me time and emotional clarity. It isn't lost on me that I might be setting you further back as I do the work of trying to forge a path forward to your liberation.
These days I wonder if I am helping or hindering with all I’ve decided to carry - full-time mothering, a graduate degree, community activism, and work seemed so much smarter before we started. I find myself in dialogue with myself, wondering if waging war on the injustice of the world is worth the casualties that show up in my interactions with you. The death of our time, the death of our sanity, the death of my patience.
To Salem, my oldest: You're brilliant in the most breathtaking way.. your heart is gold under those rambunctious edges. There will be many expectations that the world tries to cast on your shoulders. Make sure that you keep dancing so you can Harlem shake every one of others intentions away. Even if those intentions are my own. May you be a free, emotionally intelligent, and boldly proud black boy for as long as you live.
To Saige, my boldest: You have been a strong Black woman since birth. I am envious of the boundaries that you have around yourself so young. I'm also fearful. Keep that spirit and that sense of autonomy that suggests that no one can access you without your permission. At the same time, don't allow the world to convince you that you have to put up walls. There's power in vulnerability, lean into it with time.
I don't know how long I will be here and I don't know how much there is to give but I promise each of you that I wake each morning and lay down each night with plans to get you the world you deserve. Your father and I are fighting every day to give you the material and nonmaterial things we never had. Your relatives are fighting to expand their minds to hold the dynamic nature of who you might become.
I hope that you look back at me one day and see all of the roads that I trailblazed for you. I hope you can feel the strength that I put forth - even if that meant I had to borrow it from someone else because my ‘strength well’ was dry.
My heart aches for the day that we - us three and your father - will laugh at the hard moments that we felt would never pass and discuss how they made you resilient people. We have so much to say about how hard we tried to be the best parents we could be so each of you had the space to be the realest version of you.
May we fight so hard that the only thing that's left for y'all to do is live.
With love, mommom
A Rochaun-Meadows Fernandez is an award-winning writer, speaker, and activist working to amplify Black women’s voices in the mainstream dialogue, especially within conversations on health and parenting. She is also the founder of the #FreeBlackmotherhood movement. Her works also focus on sociology and health, and appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, NY Mag, and many other publications
IG @freeblackmotherhood | Twitter@amrothom | www.amfcontent.com