Parenting may be its own reward, but it’s difficult enough even under the best of circumstances. Lauren and Rajib want to raise loving and respectful children in a better world than the one we have now.
Photo by Rajib C.
To my newborn daughter, on the occasion of her birth in a country at a crossroads, my promises to you:
While he builds walls, we’ll teach you how to build bridges.
While he abridges our freedom of speech and press, we’ll teach you to speak your mind regardless of the consequences.
While he assaults and denigrates women, we’ll teach you about self-respect and inner beauty.
While he cuts taxes for the rich, we’ll teach you about social responsibility and charity.
While he lines his and his cronies’ pockets with taxpayers’ money, we’ll teach you about things money can’t buy, like integrity.
While he rolls back civil rights, we’ll teach you that Black Lives Matter.
While he delegitimizes marriage, we’ll teach you that love trumps hate.
While he drops bombs, we’ll teach you how to plant flowers.
And my last promise to you is that we will never, ever give up.
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Lauren, District of Columbia
Photo by Elise Hanna
This is my thirteen-year-old daughter, Molly.
She has Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects one in ten thousand girls and women worldwide. Molly cannot walk or talk and often has uncontrolled hand movements much like the ones Donald Trump made fun of and mocked in reporter Serge Kovaleski.
I have watched, often silently, as my daughter is stared at. I have watched as people have pointed and spoken in hushed whispers, “What is wrong with her?” I have spent tireless hours educating others on disability and acceptance, and my fears now have become a hard reality.
Not only does my family face catastrophic cuts to the social service programs that allow us to care for her at home but I fear that the walls to tolerance and acceptance which we have worked so hard to chip away at are being slowly built back up. How long before children think it is okay to mock, ignore, and marginalize her?
How long before she realizes that she is not a valued member of our society? Here is my plea. If you see a disabled child, please, speak to them, smile at them, let their parents know that you are committed to taking care of the most vulnerable members of our society.
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Check back tomorrow for Karen’s story!
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Libby Chamberlain is the founder of Pantsuit Nation. She lives in coastal Maine with her husband and two young children.