Dear urban planners, developers, education game changers and community organizers,
Please believe us, we know what we are talking about when it comes to our children and communities.
Too often people of color, poverty stricken communities and young parents are deemed to not know what they need to make things better. Plans are made before consulting directly those whom they will affect.
School board meetings are held just shy of 5:00 PM downtown where hardly any parents can get there.
Articles classify an entire community as parents who “just don’t care” about their children’s education or neighborhoods.
The parents who show up to schools smelling of marijuana do not define lack of concern. The fact that they came shows who is most important, their children. In fact, there are many “super parents” who sit at the school daily aiding children and staff and those who don’t.
However when a parent’s primary concern is paying rent on time, water bills, taxes, repos and getting to work on time so that the boss doesn’t fire them, it shows.
It shows through absentee parent actions. How about car insurance and childcare costs?
Did you know to get full coverage insurance in the city of Detroit it could cost up to an entire week’s pay for most people and two weeks pay for childcare?
Also, the parents who decide to go to school and improve their current situation get their state benefits stripped from them.
Parents catch buses at 4:00 AM to get to higher paying jobs by 7:00 AM in suburban communities and don’t get home until 6:00 or 7:00 in the evenings.
Don’t tell me these parents don’t care. The same ones who ask neighbors to watch out for their children as they enter their houses alone after school, do homework, check on their younger siblings’ homework and make sure meals are warmed up.
Single moms and dads who budget meals weekly and make arrangements with utilities companies because ends are not meeting.
Please, I beg of you: the next PTA meeting, parent teachers conference, urban planning or school board meeting you have, think of these people. They would love to attend but their schedules just may not be as convenient as yours. Go to their communities, grocery stores, or try door knocking and ask what they think before you make plans. That is, if you really want them involved!