closethejailatl.org

“Jails don’t keep us safe, neighbors do!” My 6 year old said on the message she left for Atlanta City Council a few weeks ago. Atlanta is at a critical inflection point in the campaign led by Women on the Rise and other coalition partners to close Atlanta’s city jail. While our mayor committed to repurposing the jail into a center for wellness and freedom, many members of our city council, thanks to pressure and fear mongering from the affluent, white neighborhood of Buckhead, have been using their power and influence to stop the jails closure.

At face value, I…


This is a post for well meaning white parents of white children and I’m going to cut straight to the point. The time to ask, “what can I do?” in response to the overt and insidious forms of racism and violence against Black and brown people is over.

We know what to do. We’ve been told again, and again, and again, and again.

If we want to raise anti-racist children, the ask has been and will always be to work to dismantle white supremacy within ourselves and our families. …


Courtesy of GLAHR’s Facebook page
Courtesy of GLAHR’s Facebook page
Courtesy of GLAHR’s Facebook page

In the summer of 2018, my family garnered national attention when our 6 year olds lemonade stand raised over $13,000 in support of RAICES, an organization that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas. The money was used to pay the bonds of detained migrants, one of the best ways for lay folks like us to show up for asylum seekers. There was no bond fund here in Georgia at the time, but that is no longer true and the purpose of this reflection.

The lemonade stand was a…


Recently I was folding laundry in my bedroom while my kids got ready for their evening shower in our bathroom. I overheard my 4-year-old ask my 6-year-old “Why do boys have penises and girls have vaginas?”

“Well, remember,” my 6-year-old stated with authority, “notALL boys have penises and not ALL girls have vaginas.”

Their conversation ended there, but affirmed our books and discussions about gender and gender identity were starting to gel, especially for our 6-year-old.

I was so moved by this brief but powerful interaction between my children, I shared their words on A Striving Parent’s Facebook page. Trolls…


Following the trend of this year, I’m late to the game in compiling this post. I apologize, but Seasons Greetings! I know many of you are completing your Hanukkah celebrations; I hope the holiday was filled with light and love for all.

For those still preparing for their holidays, I hope you will join me in using the season as an opportunity to be intentional and thoughtful about what gifts we purchase and where for friends, family and loved ones. I strive to buy items that challenge the narrative of whiteness as default and seek out books, toys and products…


Helping my kids make sense of my protest and arrest

Photo credit: Kevin Lowery

My 6 and 4-year-old climbed into our car and buckled themselves into their seats. By all accounts, this was a typical pick-up from school and they eagerly ripped into the gummy fruit snacks I brought them, cheeks flushed from the end-of-day running with their friends.

Instead of turning on The Best of The Talking Heads, our current musical obsession, I took a deep breath and said, “Hey kiddos, I have something really important to tell you both. I’m not sure if you’ve heard the adults around you talking about it, but I wanted you to hear it from me directly…


I am undone. The collective trauma caused by sexual assault is too much to bear. As people share their stories, memories I’ve repressed or normalized over time come rushing back to the surface, forcing me off-balance, leaving me breathless. As my sisters, mother, friends and loved ones tell their stories, our unwanted, unwelcome connection is revealed: none of us ever had control over our own bodies. Not really. No matter what they told us in sex-ed, or what my parents taught me about consent, I didn’t stand a fucking chance.

Even now, at 37 years old, I’m still striving to…


Last week, I shared the conversation I had with my 6 and 3 year olds about the separation of parents and children happening at our borders and my son’s suggestion to host a lemonade fundraiser as a way for us to take action as a family.


I took a week off of Facebook in an attempt to be fully present with my family while we were on vacation. When I logged back on, I was flooded with the horrifying news about families being separated at the borders. Tent cities erected. Audio of children crying for their parents. Experts testifying many of these families will never be reunited. Tender age detention centers for babies and toddlers.

On Monday, I shared with my kids, who are 6 and 3, a high-level overview of what is happening.

I said something like, “Families are trying to enter our country because…


The Future is Female. Believe Women. Nasty Woman.

On a nearly daily basis, I see versions of the above phrases in hashtags, on t-shirts, in articles, on TV shows and in other mediums of mainstream media. These statements are celebrated in progressive circles and are used to fortify and galvanize women to take action in what’s become known as The Resistance. We are “ReSisters”, after all. Get it? Re-SISTERS?

But do you know what phrase I’m noticing doesn’t flow quite as smoothly in Resistance crowds? Elect Black Women.

Elect Black Women evolved from the concepts of Trust Black Women and…

Shannon Cofrin Gaggero

A parent striving to raise socially conscious children and advocate for racial justice. Blog: www.strivingparent.com Facebook: fb.me/strivingparent

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