I didn’t know what ‘white privilege’ was until I attended the Warrior Mom Conference in Boston, MA in July of 2015. I have been living in a suburban bubble for the last twenty plus years. Before that I grew up in the melting pot that is New York City. I had friends of all races, ethnicities and religions. A lot changes when you are removed from that pot. Suburbia rarely houses those that are not white. In my suburban high school, minorities made up, maybe, 10% of our population. But I digress… At this conference, there was a presentation on privilege and it reopened my eyes. I learned so much that day and yet had so much more to learn.
I am white, there is no denying it. My skin doesn’t tan unless it gets severely burned first. I need to look like a relative of a lobster to show any color other than fair. This gives me one of the highest privileges. I grew up Middle Class and remain in that category. I come from a loving family with parents who are still happily married. I attended college. I am privileged. In certain ways, I do feel the sting of societal beliefs. I am Jewish and with that comes a boat load of history of Anti-Semitism. In recent weeks, it comes with bomb threats to JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) and destruction of Jewish cemeteries. I am also a person with two diagnosed Mental Illnesses currently. This label has negative assumptions associated with it and in the present day, a huge stigma and a belief that I am a danger to society. But, I am privileged. No denying that.
This weekend shit went down in an organization I volunteer my time to, an organization I wish existed when I had just had my daughter, Postpartum Progress Inc. While I do not have the whole story, the women hurt by this organization are my friends and women of color. The CEO and founder of this organization said and did something she shouldn’t have that was racist in nature. While the intent may not have been, we must always think of how others may react. I do not agree with what was said and done. As a white woman, I can’t fully understand the damage that occurred. All I know is that many of my friends, who I met through this organization, and love dearly, were hurt. I hurt because they are hurt. As an Empath, I yearn to feel their pain in full so that I can completely understand. The comments said and actions done (or not done), I thought, was only the beginning of the true nature of the leadership in this organization.
But I was wrong.
Over the weekend, former board members have come forward with stories of “Remember so-and-so, and that she left, want to know why?”. This battle with women of color has been going on for 2 years and the reaction in the last two years from the leadership of this organization has been to keep it quiet, hushed, on the down low. They left on mutual terms, that is what was told to the Warrior Mom community, all of us volunteers.
My heart is broken. I feel like I need to pick a side even though I do not technically have to. I support my friends who were hurt. These women gave so much of their time, roughly 20 hours a week, and were only paid minimum wage for five of those hours. They gave their energy, their love and pieces of their heart to women of all races, ethnicities, religions & sexual orientations. They only made you feel wanted and respected. They deserve the same in return. I will always remain loyal to them for that.
Where does this leave me with my work with Postpartum Progress, Inc?
I for one want to help women with their struggles with Postpartum Mental Illness, but there are other organizations. My heart is telling me to leave PPI. The Leadership has covered up too much over the last two years which makes you wonder what else is being hidden from us Ambassadors and Climb Leaders. I just can’t support them anymore. Yesterday, I wore my Warrior Mom fleece and felt disgusted. I want to toss my Postpartum Progress travel mug even though it is my best insulated travel mug. I have lost the motivation to help them. I just cannot stand behind someone and something, that while trying to ‘help’ women of color, has in turn been hurting them for years now.
That said, I am truly glad I found PPI back in 2014 because through it, I discovered this amazing community of women who just want to help each other. We just want other women to know they are not alone. We will still support them whether under PPI or another organization. I will still advocate for Maternal Mental Health.
With that said, I hereby use this post to submit my formal resignation as a Warrior Mom Ambassador and Climb Leader for Postpartum Progress, Inc.
With love to ALL moms,