Dear Beyond Baby Mamas community –
I love y’all.
There’s a lot I wanted to write in this post that will kick off our week-long celebration of Beyond Baby Mamas’ one-year anniversary. But the first and most essential thing is that I love all of you. From the mothers and fathers who’ve volunteered to share their family stories to the readers who’ve supported us to the benefactors who’ve generously donated to our first attempts at fundraising initiatives, this fledgling community has proved itself close-knit, committed, and most of all loving toward one another.
I started BBM in part for personal edification. I wanted to find some single mothers of color to discuss the various ways in which solo and co-parenting uniquely impact us. And because I know that my own unmarried parenting situation is one of comparative “ease,” I felt like I might be in a solid position to provide support for other parents who felt more isolated, had less hands-on help with their children, and received less communication and support from their co-parents.
I wasn’t sure what we were. I’m still not entirely certain what we will become. But I know that we can look upon this community we’re building and say, with total confidence: it is good.
Here are some of the things we’ve been able to accomplish in the short time since last September:
- We’ve connected mothers from various background and with diverse family structures — not just within the continental U.S. but also in Canada, the UK, and the Caribbean.
- We’ve grown our Twitter account to over 1,000 followers and our Facebook page is just 12 likes shy of 300 users.
- We’ve held useful live chats and community conversations via YouTube and Storify.
- We’ve amplified the voices and raised the public profile of real, individual women in mainstream publications and programs (including The Atlantic, The Takeway, NPR’s Tell Me More, Salon, and The Huffington Post), adding nuance to the national discourse on black and brown single mothers.
- We sent one single mother out to the restaurant of her choice for Mother’s Day dinner.
- We invited single fathers of color to tell their stories and stood in solidarity with them for a week of Father’s Day affirmation and celebration.
- We assisted in a successful online campaign to send the daughter of one of our community members and all of her single mother-coached track team to the Junior Olympics.
- We helped 25 families (and close to fifty children) from all over the country to afford school supplies this fall.
- We sent letters (some of which hopefully included donations) to the mother of a slain one-year-old in New Orleans.
And our journey is just beginning.
Until now, organizing this initiative has been a one-woman job. I’ve been very fortunate to have so many community members and supporters willing to encourage, participate and publicize what we’ve been doing, but in the upcoming year, as I branch out both with Beyond Baby Mamas and with the many other projects to which I’m committed, I’ll definitely need to build a larger, consistent core team. That’s just one of my goals for the upcoming year. Here are a few others:
- We’ll transition Beyond Baby Mamas from online community to nonprofit organization.
- We’ll redesign our website.
- We’ll send treat more community members to Mother’s Day surprises.
- We’ll resume our celebration of black and brown fathers — not just in the week leading up to Father’s Day but with other coalition-building efforts.
- We’ll strengthen and refine our fundraising efforts.
- We’ll host at least one in-person meet-up.
- We’ll continue to publish your personal stories and connect single mothers from around the world to one another.
I believe in accountability, and I believe in the power of storytelling, encouragement, of course, most of all: love.
Thanks for an amazing year, and here’s to many more.
With hope, admiration, and commitment,
Stacia L. Brown, Founder