2 moms get real about the reality of raising black children in America.

When Shila Burney's 17-year-old son Michael leaves the house, she insists that his phone's GPS is turned on.

Burney trusts her son and his friends, but she doesn't make this request lightly.

The Burneys are black. As a mother of a black son, Shila worries about the strangers and situations Michael may run into that he can't control. If something goes wrong, she says, "How quickly can I get there — to him?"


When the Atlanta-area mom of four speaks about motherhood, there's a passion and protective fierceness in her voice.

"Everyone thinks just because we're strong, black women, we walk around emotionless," Burney says. "That is not the case. We care deeply about our kids. We'll do anything in the world for them, and we don't want anybody else hurting them."

The Burneys. Photo used with permission.

We often only hear from black moms after their children are lost to senseless acts of violence.

It's frequent and unsettlingly repetitive. A shooting. A grieving mother. Brief outrage. A call for peace. Another hashtag. A grim reminder of a family torn apart.

It's happened 95 times this year so far. 95 black people have been killed by police in 2017.

We hear this pain too often: "Our family will never be the same; the kids will never be the same," said the mother of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old killed by a police officer outside Dallas this May. It happened again with the families of Quanice Hayes, Tony Robinson, and Laquan McDonald.

There was also Richard Collins III, a black college senior and would-be second lieutenant in the Army who was stabbed to death by a stranger just days before graduation. Even though she'd never met him, the news of Richard's murder shook Burney to her core, and not for the first time.

"All those emotions start coming again," she says.

With Collins' murder, many parents saw in him their own children of color — bright, driven, talented — and wonder how they can possibly protect them.

Police and the FBI are investigating the killing of Collins as a possible hate crime. The suspect, Sean Urbanski, was a member of a racist Facebook group. Photo by U.S. Army via Associated Press.

"I've never sat down with my kid and explained to them anything about the police, because to me, they weren't supposed to have any interactions with the police," Burney says. She tells her children to be good kids, to do what they're supposed to do. "You may get stopped for a ticket, but I had no rules for when you get stopped. 'Be respectful' — that's all I had."

When Burney heard of Sandra Bland's death, all that changed. She wept, imagining her own daughter alone, at the mercy of an aggressive police officer with no way to protect herself. Burney raised her kids with the guidance of "be respectful." Now, respect didn't seem to matter.

Photo by iStock.

There's a difficult push and pull that black moms live with: wanting their kids to be kids and, at the same time, protecting them from a society that doesn't always love them back.

Sheila Higginson is white. Her husband, Felipe, is black. She struggles with the same fears for their two teenaged boys in Brooklyn.

"I want to make sure they're aware of the hatred ... that there are people who truly don't want them to exist," says Higginson. She wants her sons to believe they're special, that they can be anything they want. But it's not that easy.

"There's a group of the world that sees them as young, teenage, black boys and sees: threat," she says. "That's a really sad thing to have to tell your kids."

Sheila Higginson's husband, Felipe (left), and sons Kai (center) and Jake at a Mets game. Photo via Sheila Higginson, used with permission.

Raising and parenting a child of color in America requires emotional intelligence, labor, and grit that's rarely acknowledged.

It's talking to children about why they can't go out with their hoodies up or du-rags on. Explaining why hair or dress codes at school may be written to disproportionately punish them. Practicing how to respond to police officers or authority figures when they're out with their friends. Discussing why some people may see them as a threat, even if they're only in middle school.

These are conversations most white families will never have. Each one is exhausting but necessary.

"You have to kind of shatter the snow globe," Higginson says. "As a mother, you have to support your kids through that moment of disillusionment with the world. But I really felt unprepared for this level of it."

The Higginsons at a party. Photo via Sheila Higginson, used with permission.

"Growing up in Brooklyn ... my kids were in a bubble," she says — disconnected from some of the worst kinds of racism in our country. But lately, that's changed.

After the election of President Donald Trump, things have gotten harder.

"It wasn't a daily thing. Right now, it is. It's so shocking that it's here. In Brooklyn. It's mind-boggling," she says. She's seen a rise in racist vitriol in her neighborhood, especially against Mexicans and recent Muslim immigrants.

Protesters near Trump Tower in Chicago. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Both moms have hope that things can improve, but only if we start listening to one another.

When white families get media coverage day after day when something happens to their children, Burney feels frustrated. Black parents hurt too, but their stories are often under-covered and under-considered.

"We have stories; our stories need to be told. Don't forget us," she says, the protective passion of a fierce and loving mom, in a world hostile to her children, stirring in her voice again.

People join mothers from around the country who lost their children to police violence to protest in front of the Justice Department at the Million Mom March in 2015. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images.

Right now, children of color — particularly black children — are under attack from all sides. If one child hurts, we should all feel it.

"Every single mother shares this feeling of wanting their kids to feel safe and protected and able to just be kids," Higginson says. "How can you be a mother and not understand that? How can you be a mother and not understand we're saying our kids are unsafe, not just feel unsafe. Are unsafe."

A candlelight vigil for Jamyla Bolden in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2015. Bolden, 9, was killed by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting while doing her homework in her home. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/ Getty Images.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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