How do you teach your children about the role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played in this country? One local mom says her family started traditions surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day when she was a child.
Takisha Brown, a member of Mocha Moms, a support group for mothers of color, says she has passed down that tradition to her daughter.
“My parents would actually play the record, ‘I Have A Dream,’ we would actually make a birthday cake and we would actually sing happy birthday,” Brown said.
Brown says they also watch documentaries each year, like “Eyes on the Prize,” an award-winning series about the Civil Rights Movement, and have included community service in their celebration.
Her family creates packages for people without housing and youth in detention centers through her church. Due to COVID-19, they drive by the church to drop packages off for contactless delivery.
Brown, a single working mom, was invited to join Mocha Moms years earlier, but her schedule, she says, was much too busy. She decided to join the group in April 2020 after the pandemic made her feel she was “going stir crazy.”
“I was just going through so many things. Trying to do everything, working from home (and) trying to deal with the virtual schooling.”
She said things like trying to do fifth-grade math became a serious challenge as well. However, Brown said joining Mocha Moms was “the best decision” because she realized she wasn’t alone. Instead, she was part of a sisterhood.
Another “Mocha Mom” turned the turmoil of 2020 into a time to open a dialogue with her children about race.
Brittney Gordon-Williams, president of the Northern Prince George’s County Chapter of Mocha Moms, said she started talking with her children about being Black in 2020.
The conversations with her 3- and 7-year-old followed the death of George Floyd. She said her children would see the news and ask questions like, “Why are buildings on fire? Why are people in the streets?”
Gordon-Williams answered using books about legendary figures like Martin Luther King Jr. Her goal was to explain that these problems have happened before and kindle a “hope for the future.”
Mocha Moms was originally a group for stay-at-home moms. Gordon-Williams has been a member of the group for five years and says she joined the group when they changed their mission and opened up to all moms.
The group “has been a great source of inspiration, resources and sisterhood,” she said. “It’s really played a great role in my new life as a mom.”
Gordon-Williams was born and raised in Baltimore. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and her master’s degree at Howard University. The former television reporter currently works as the communications director for a federal agency and works from home due to COVID-19.
Brown did her undergraduate studies at American University and received her law degree from Georgetown University. She now works for a federal agency.
Both Gordon-Williams and Brown now live in Bowie, Maryland. You can reach the Northern Prince George’s County Chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc. via their Facebook page, on Instagram or by visiting their website.
This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.