A Letter To My Single Parent Sisters…

Recently, I wrote a commentary on a recent murder that happened. This murder happened by a young African American teenager in Philadelphia. He murdered his mother. It really hurt my heart to read about. There were some important comments made in response by mothers. So, I decided to write a letter to my sisters…

~This is to all my sisters….my single parent sisters~

I want each of you to know that when I lift up the fact that there is something…no some-one missing in this boys’s life that could have made a huge difference it does not negate or cancel out his mother’s efforts or actions to instill love, values, discipline, etc in this boy’s life.

I can understand why as single mothers there may be sensitivity when attention is called to the gaping hole and pain that exists when a father is absent. Because it is painful. But, let’s be real…. I know first hand. My father was an on again off again presence in my life for much of my childhood. It wasn’t until my mother remarried when I was 6 that I had a CONSISTENT male figure in my life. And, maaan did my stepfather make a huge difference. His mere presence, let alone his investment in me and love for me dramatically impacted my view of men, and the world…

But, guess what? Even with his undying love for his little girl (because he truly took me on as his own) it did not and could not fill the hole that was left by not having my biological father in my life.

Someone said: I AM THE FATHER. No…..you are not. You can no more be a father than you can sprout a penis or make sperm.

As women most of us can certainly understand how an absent mother can significantly impact a child. So, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that an absent father does not. I’m not sure why some sisters felt the need to list the accomplishments of their children and talk about all that they have done to sacrifice for and raise their children well. My shedding light on the absent father in this scenario again was not an attempt to knock that mama or any mother.

My talking about the absentee father is certainly not saying that if a father or male figure is not around the male child will be an absolute failure. My point was that men make a difference in the lives of little men. You can have a successful young man come out of a single parent (woman) household and be SUPER successful in the world’s eyes. But, I guarantee you (and this is not just my opinion….this is based on years of experience, working with hundreds of young adolescent males, and the research) HE WILL STILL HAVE ISSUES TO DEAL WITH PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY AS IT RELATES TO NOT HAVING HIS FATHER OR RELATIONSHIPS WITH A MAN WHO GENUINELY LOVES AND LOOKS OUT FOR HIM.

PLEEEEEEEEASE understand that there is NOTHING you can do about that. Even in a two parent household there are pains that children will experience from one parent or another that the other parent can do NOTHING about. We can love the child, be there for the child, but you cannot take the pain away or fill the hole up for your child. Im sorry, you just can’t. Only God and that person can do it for themselves….

Now, as I mentioned in the post I have counseled African American male teens for several years and the common thread for the children I have worked with is that they are angry, delinquent, oppositional, and have no fathers. Now, wait a sec, IN ADDITION to that the environments they live in have a whole bunch of negative influences….oftentimes their mothers have significant emotional and mental health problems , these young men are not being exposed to different possibilities for their lives , and their are generational issues in the home like alcoholism, drug abuse, neglect etc.

So, I AGREE, having a home with an absentee father does not doom one to a life of misery by any means.

BUT KNOW THIS: The young men who had uncles, brothers, etc. STILL DID SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than the ones with no male figure. Even the young men I worked with who had dysfunctional, f*@ked up fathers who were in the home or consistently involved in their sons’ lives DID SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than the ones with no male figure.

Many of you said that you make it a point to have men involved in your childrens’ lives and that is so crucial! So, it seems to me that some of us understand that just because there is no father in the home doesn’t mean that our children can’t be exposed to examples of and HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH (there is a difference) strong men.

Like someone said ….it really does take a village. Why, a village? Because each person, each gender, each generation has a part to play…..has a role. If one person could do it all there would be no need for the village. But, it’s NEVER that simple…..NEVER.

Best Intentions,


African American Teen Kills His Mother Over….Playstation? It’s NEVER that simple.

by Aiyana Ma’at Authorities say a young Kendall Anderson was so angry his mom took away his PlayStation that he killed her with a claw hammer.

Our children are angry. No, they are more than angry. They are outraged….outraged at what? Some of them know. And, some of them don’t have a clue.

I’ve counseled many African American male teens who will tell you in a heartbeat. “Don’t nobody care about me. My mother…she do the best she can but she ain’t no man so she can’t teach me how to be a man. I don’t know where my father is…..man f*!k that ni**a, I don’t need him anyway!”

So, when I see a report in the news about another one of our children (especially our boys) temporarily “losing their mind” (because that’s what happens—they temporarily lose their mind) my first question is: “Where’s the man?” When all of that bottled up, pushed down, hot scorching pain that they’ve suppressed for so long comes bubbling out onto the surface…. you better watch out. And, it seems often at the slightest provocation. A playstation, really?! Yes, REALLY.  Rage isn’t logical. No, indeed it’s quite dangerous.

And, while I in no way feel that this youngster shouldn’t have to face the natural consequences that come with snuffing out someone’s life (laaawd, his mother no less!); I feel that ultimately there are some folks who need to be locked up with him. Where was his Daddy? The young man said in his confessional: “I really miss my mom….She was the only person who cared for me.” THE ONLY PERSON? That says a lot. Where were the uncles, grandfathers, older cousins, godfathers?? Where?!

I know what you’re thinking. “This young man is probably very disturbed….there’s a lot we surely don’t know” or “Aiyana, you’re trying to make it all deep…talking about rage and all that but this boy just needed somebody to seriously check him.” Well, to both of these thoughts I say: You are most likely quite right….all I know is that this young man needed (and still does) a CONSISTENT MAN in his life. Someone to say “I’m listening.” and someone to say “Be Quiet and You Listen.” I’ve worked with young men just like Kendall Anderson for 10+ years and I’m telling you it would have made a hell of a difference.

Source NY Daily News/BlackVoices

The 16-year-old allegedly told police he decided to kill his mother, Rashida Anderson, after a 90-minute argument that culminated in her taking the video-game console away.

Anderson considered his actions before killing his 37-year-old single mother, said the judge who read the teen’s statement in Philadelphia Municipal Court. The teen paced for three hours mulling over what he would do before deciding to kill her, said his confession, which he gave to a police detective.

Anderson struck her 20 times with a claw hammer while she slept.

In an effort to get rid of her body, he tried to “cremate her” in the oven, according to the confession. When that failed, he smashed her head with a chair, then dragged the body out into the alley behind their house and hid it.

The remains were not found until nearly two days later, after family became suspicious and notified police. Anderson was charged with murder in December, as well as possession of an instrument of a crime and abuse of a corpse.

The teen was not known to be violent, but had been charged with stealing a laptop from his high school.

“If I could, I would not do it again,” he said in his confession. “I really miss my mom. … She was the only person who cared for me.”

8 Important Statistics Black America Should Pay Attention To

It’s no secret that us Black folks have some things we have to work on. When looking at almost any segment of our community you’ll find that we lag behind where we shouldn’t or are far ahead when we shouldn’t be. We thought this article from The Atlanta Post was a thought provoking one. There’s so much to do, attend to, and clean up in our community. No one person or group can do it alone—that’s for sure.

However, as you look over these 8 areas of concern in our community ask yourself “Where I am helping?”, “What am I doing?”, “Where can I use my gifts to impact someone else?”. You know what we say over here family…we’ve gotta Stop Playing & Start Pushing. Each One. Teach One. Read this very sobering list and let’s all re-commit to DO OUR PART TO HEAL OURSELVES.

We Must Be The Change We Wish To See  ~Mahatma Gandhi


According to a recent study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2011, “Although blacks make up only 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 50.3 percent of all diagnosed cases of HIV. Additionally, the rate of HIV diagnosis among black men is eight times that of whites and two times that of Hispanics, and the rate for black women is 19 times that of whites and four times that of Hispanics.”


According to a recent study conducted by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University, “The wealth disparity between white and black households has more than quadrupled, regardless of income bracket.” Predicated on economic data from 1984 to 2007, the IASP study indicated that the average white family in the sample group held around $95,000 more in assets than the average black family. Additionally, the study found that middle-income white families have more assets (stocks, bonds, business interests, real estate other than primary residence) than do high-income black families.

Single Mothers

According to the most recent government figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “72 percent of black mothers are unwed which eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans.” To be sure, these statistics do not imply that babies born to unwed mothers will be unsuccessful or devoid of opportunities. However, the data does bespeak of the need for more fathers in the home who are involved in their child’s life.

Secondary Education

According to the US Department of Education, “Nearly half of the nation’s African American students attend high schools in low-income areas with dropout rates that hover in the 40-50% range.” “Dropout factories” (i.e., high schools that routinely have senior classes with 60% fewer students than their entering freshmen classes) are estimated to produce 73% of African American, 66% of Latino, and 34% of White dropouts, respectively.

Higher Education

According to a relatively recent graduation rate report from the Education Sector, an independent think tank, “Fewer than half of the black students who enroll in college graduate from four-year institutions within six years. Nationally, the average six-year graduation rate for all students is 57 percent.”

Moreover, a 2009 Associated Press analysis of government data on the 83 federally designated four-year HBCUs indicated that only 37 percent of their black students finish a degree within six years, which is 4 percentage points lower than the national college graduation rate for black student

Incarceration & Crime

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “The racial composition of the US prison and jail population as of 2008 was 60.21% (African American (non-Hispanic), 20.29% Hispanic, 13.44% White American (non-Hispanic) , and 6.06% Other (American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander American, and Multiracial American).”

Relative to black on black crime, the most recent government statistics indicated that “43% of all murder victims in 2007 were African American, 93.1% of whom were killed were African Americans.”


According to recent US Census Bureau data, “24.7% of all African-American live in poverty in comparison to 8.6% of all non-Hispanic White, 11.8% of all Asian-American and 23.2% of all Hispanic.” The Labor Department statistics still show the current unemployment rate among blacks hovering around 16 percent, although the economy as a whole has shown some improvement.

Coronary Heart Disease & Stroke

According to the US Centers for Disease Control Health Disparities and Inequalities Report (Jan. 2011), “Black women and men have much higher coronary heart disease (CHD) death rates in the 45–74 age group than women and men of other races. A higher percentage of black women (37.9%) than white women (19.4%) died before age 75 as a result of CHD, as did black men (61.5%) compared with white men (41.5%). And, a higher percentage of black women (39%) died of stroke before age 75 compared with white women (17.3%) as did black men (60.7%) compared to white men (31.1%). “

“Celebrating Black History As Black Family Falls Apart.”

This article written by Colbert I. King really left an impression on me. It really made me look at the condition of the African American Family today….where we’ve been and where we are now. And, to be honest it just made me sad. It made me sad yet more committed than ever to continue doing the work that my husband and I do. We have to. We just can’t afford to keep going down this path as a people. We’ve got to start thinking and doing more to PREVENT the madness that is happening in our own backyards. Have a read of this thought provoking article and let us know what you think.

Excerpt From SouthCoastToday.com

When Black History Month was celebrated in 1950, according to State University of New York research, 77.7 percent of black families had two parents. As of January 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the share of two-parent families among African-Americans had fallen to 38 percent.

We know that children, particularly young male African-Americans, benefit from parental marriage and from having a father in the home. Today, the majority of black children are born to single, unmarried mothers.

Celebrate? Let’s celebrate.

Three years ago, I wrote about young girls in our city who are not learning what they are really worth, young men who aren’t being taught to treat young women with respect, and boys and girls who are learning how to make babies but not how to raise them. Those conditions, the column suggested, find expression in youth violence, child abuse and neglect, school dropout rates, and the steady stream of young men flowing into the city’s detention facilities.

Boys get guns, girls get babies. This pattern isn’t new. We don’t need maps to tell us what the problem of teen births means to a city.

We know that most teenage mothers don’t graduate from high school; that many of the youths in the juvenile justice system are born to unmarried teens; and that children of teenagers are twice as likely to be abused or neglected and more likely to wind up in foster care.

We know, too, that children of teenage parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves.

An intergenerational cycle of dysfunction is unfolding before our eyes, even as we spend time rhapsodizing about our past.

No less discouraging is the response that has become ingrained.

Sixteen, unmarried and having a baby? No problem. Here are your food stamps, cash assistance and medical coverage. Can’t be bothered with the kid? No sweat, there’s foster care.

Make the young father step up to his responsibilities?

Consider this statement I received from a sexual health coordinator and youth programs coordinator in the District of Columbia concerning a teen mother she is counseling: “She recently had a child by a man who is 24 years old and has 5 other children. He is homeless and does not work, but knows how to work young girls very well … This young man is still trying to have more children.”

He’s a cause. Our community deals with his consequences.

A 16-year-old mother who reads at a sixth-grade level drops out of school? Blame the teacher. Knock the city for underserving girls during their second and third pregnancies. Blast social workers for not doing enough to help children with developmental disabilities or kids in foster care. Carp at the counselors responsible for troubled youth in detention.

Sure, tackle the consequences. Construct a bigger, better, more humane safety net. I’m for that, especially where children are concerned. And the causes?

God forbid, don’t mention causes.

Celebrate? Let’s celebrate.

CLICK HERE for full article.