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Faith Overcoming Fear: Raising Black Men in America.

meet rosezeta, damien, dai dai and adrian.

Sometimes in life you get to meet certain people that are just good and make you want to be good. I had the privilege of not just meeting this person, but calling her my friend. Rosezeta and I worked at a community center for at-risk children and lived in the same tough neighborhood. She has raised two exceptional young men and has done, and is continuing to do, everything to make sure that they are hard-working, kind and generous young men. With everything that has been going on in the media among the African American community, it is unfortunate to say, but it is not new news to people of color. The fear that my friends sweet boys could be judged because of the color of their skin is saddening and infuriating to me. But Rosezeta and her husband Damien stand in faith. Faith that gives them comfort that they are raising their boys according to God's will.

How old are your boys?

Dai Dai is 18 and Adrian is 13.

Your sons are amazing! How have you raised such strong, grounded young men?

ABSOLUTELY by the grace of God above all!

The presence and involvement of their father in their lives has been a huge contributing factor also. We as parents worked together to create a system to make sure we were present and active for our boys. For example, Damien worked a job to bring in the income to support our family, while I was at home to be available for structure and the school needs of our boys.

I remember when we worked together, you quit to be home with Dai Dai. Why was this so important for you to do?

Because the structure at home for our boys was (and still is) very important to us. We didn't want to risk them getting lost in the system's statistics. As far as the obligations and influence we have as parents; we wanted them to have a presence at home so they wouldn't become familiar with an "empty house" and idle time to get caught up into things they shouldn't. We saw that the privilege and opportunity I had to be home for our boys provided more opportunities for teaching and training to help them grow to be respectable, God fearing men, and our goal was, and still is to take every advantage of that.

How do you feel, as a mother, about the police shootings of so many african american men?

It is very disturbing and heart-breaking! It creates tons of mixed emotions that can be very hard to balance through-sadness, anger, bitterness, fear, preconceptions, etc..

Have you and Damien had conversations with your sons about these incidents?

Yes, we have had conversations and continue to do so regularly because unfortunately, this type of situation pertains specifically to them (being young black men). Our conversations are very open and blunt/to the point.

We hear each other's thoughts, concerns, fears and pain. And although this is "their" reality, we try to encourage them to be the best that they can be; to strive to reach their full potential and not allow such things to hinder or place fear in them.

We have many fears about our boys' safety-living in a world that is so NOT for them. In fact, against them. I fear for them being falsely accused of a crime.I fear them being overlooked of opportunities that they work for and have the skills, talent and requirements for. And even greatly than those, I fear for their lives. That they could be taken "rightfully" because of how their appearance looks to someone.

What has helped alleviate some of the fears you have for your boys?

Prayer! That what we've modeled and taught will be on the forefront of their hearts and minds. Also trusting that the Lord will lead and guide them to make the choices that are best for them and their situations and individual growth. And prayer to keep them protected, all according to His plan for them. That's all we have to lean on (the Lord) and that He is sufficient!

How has your faith impacted your family?

Faith has definitely allowed us to see our weaknesses and the reality of our need of God-His grace, mercy, strength and love! It has shaped us in our parenting to aim for the same. To be more loving, patience, merciful, gracious, understanding and open. Faith is the thread that holds us together!

What quote or scripture inspires how you parent your children?

Proverbs 3:5-7a

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes....

We trust that God is sovereign; all knowing and all powerful. We believe His words that, children are a blessing (Psalm 127:3). I know I am weak and limited, so I'm trusting in God to do what He can when I can't!

What do you hope your children learn from you?

We hope that our boys will love God most of all. We hope that they will learn to be genuine, honest, hardworking and selfless people.

Take the Harvard Implicit Bias test to see if you hold any racial biases.

Knowledge gives us the power to change.