On July 8, 2016, I went to bed devastated. So worried about the future of this world for my son. I never watch the news. NEVER. I only subscribe to local news stations on Facebook in the case of a weather emergency. But that day, I was horrified. It was all over Facebook. The first thing I thought about and the only thing I kept dwelling on was the mamas of the victims. Those murdered were all in their 30s and 40s. The prime of their lives. Probably fathers. AND THEIR MOTHERS WERE PROBABLY GLUED TO THE NEWS STORIES JUST LIKE I WAS. HOPING IT WASN’T HIM. NOT MY BOY.
Five Dallas Police officers murdered BECAUSE THEY ARE THE WRONG COLOR.
The next morning, as I was heading into the studio for sessions, there was a nagging in my heart that I had to do something. But what could I do? Give money? Be angry? Turn to Facebook and rant about the hatred? Call the victim’s mothers and cry with them? None of that seemed right. Because it couldn’t bring these dead officers back and it couldn’t change anything. Not really.
I kept thinking about the mamas. And their babies. Dead.
I knew that the only thing I could change was me. What I teach my son about race, judgement, unconditional love and the Gospel. I tried to teach him the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. All those people who call themselves Christians and then spew hate. That’s not what Jesus was about. He loved the whore just as she was. He loved the crooked tax collector who robbed people blind. He loved the sick and the fowl. He LOVED unconditionally. And so should we.
I moved to Southeast Texas in October of 2009 and about 6 months later, was hired by Patricia Lambert to teach Junior English at Central Medical Magnet High School. In my interview, she leaned over her desk with a very serious look on her face and said, “What makes you think that a pretty white lady like you can handle a bunch of kids like ours?” I was stunned. It’s rare that I don’t know what to say, but I had to gather my thoughts. I told her that love sees no color and that even though I’m white, I didn’t have a Leave It to Beaver childhood. I got in a LOT of trouble as a teenager and I was confident I could hold it down in my classroom. I guess she liked that answer, because she hired me on the spot.
When I told a local white friend how excited I was to teach there because it was an undeserved, at-risk population, she was horrified. She told me to call her back RIGHT NOW and tell her you can’t take the job. Those kids will slash your tires! You’re going to get shot! You can’t work there, Yvette! I couldn’t believe my ears. What if I hadn’t taken that job? Things might be very different for B.I.S.D. at this moment. God had plans for this assignment and He wasn’t playing around!
And I LOVED my job. Correction….I LOVED my kids. I wasn’t too keen on policing dress code, all the stress about testing and reports. But I loved my kids.
I taught there for four years and I’ve never seen such rampant racism in my entire life. BOTH WAYS. It disgusted me. All I knew to do was to show these kids that I was different. I wasn’t the token white lady who looked down her nose. I loved them. Like they were my own. I went to church with them, I brought them to my house. I went to their baby showers. I loved everyone of them. For who they ARE.
Once I arrived at the studio that day, I knew I had to use these God given gifts I have of telling a story to help, in some small way, remind us that the mamas are grieving their dead babies and the only way we can try to keep our babies safe is to teach them to love unconditionally. Just like Jesus.
I knew what I wanted to do. I sent out a model call and over 100 people applied. This image, that I photographed today, represents all of this hope I have in me that YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE.
These mamas want to be the change. They want to teach these babies to love unconditionally. Because that’s what these mamas want for their babies.
WON’T YOU JOIN US?
If this post or image resonates with you, I would be forever grateful if you would share. Share it from your heart. And share it with your children. Maybe you can’t read it to them, but you can teach THEM to #bethechange
P.S. Thank you to each of these mamas for taking the time out of your days to #bethechange