This week on Melanated Mom Talk, I feel inspired to think differently about making new friends. And having a new look at the strangers who live next door - those who for better or for worse, we share space with. Here in the not-so-very United States our trail to the 2020 presidential elections has shined a floodlight on the ways we interact with those who are unlike ourselves. And many are coming face to face with realities they have worked very hard at keeping in the dark. But it is time for something new.
Speaking as a black woman, there is absolutely no middle ground for me or my family. I think of Kwame Ture who said back on July 28th, 1966 that black people are the only people in this country who are powerless. That we only control the things that white people say we can control. That we are the only people who have to “protect ourselves from our protectors” and that we have got to get us some “black power.” I think of that often as I am confronted by the the various Blue Line and Trump 2020 diesel truck parades designed to stoke hatred and fear to the powerless; these new age cross burnings that gives a daily micro-dosing of domestic terrorism.
But one of the moments in life that do bring me comfort are the friends and the allies I have built community with to surround and protect my family in these dangerous times. The friends who have risen to the occasion of not letting any of us get completely desensitized.
I find myself taking more time to really see and understand the people in my life. I’ve been making friends with a lot of strangers recently. Mainly because of covid, the circles of people that I commune with have gotten much smaller and much more proximity based and with greater recurrence. The mom friends who share the same levels of political and social awareness that I have.
Who was the last stranger that you made friends with? Who are the friends and family that you intentionally keep close nowadays?
Alexis Beene Nightingale is the last good friend that I made. We met on a Facebook moms group connected with the local elementary school. I was posting about the high chair my youngest had outgrown, seeing if anyone needed a fairly unused piece of kitchen furniture and Alexis jumped on the thread and was like ‘forget that noise, who are you!’ And it’s been a party ever since.
A native of the south, and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Alexis moved to New York in 2006 to attend graduate school. She has since married a hilarious and socially committed stand-up guy. The two of them are raising three gorgeous children all while Alexis works at a multi-national financial services corporation as the Research and Insights Manager for the North American marketing region.
When I asked Alexis what she imaged the year 2034 will look like for her and her family, she replied, “I’ll be in my early 50s, giving less f’s and only doing the things that bring me joy.” This is the kind of person that I cherish in life.