Happy Mother’s Day

Toya Graham and her son Michael
Toya Graham and her son Michael

Happy Mother’s Day to Toya Graham 

April 29, 2015

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks on the topic of Baltimore resident Toya Graham’s interaction with her son Michael

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Q One last thing. The President often has talked, when issues of racial tension have come up, about how he perceives things, or tries to look at things as a father. Toya Graham is being talked about as sort of a hero mom for her specific and videotaped interaction with her son in some of the more intense moments that occurred in Baltimore. I’m just curious — has the President seen any of that? Does he have any evaluation of it? Does he believe it is something that adds to our understanding about the role of parents in situations like this?

MR. EARNEST: I haven’t spoken to the President about this specific thing. I do feel confident in hazarding a guess that he has seen the video. The President, as he alluded to in the Rose Garden yesterday, does believe that there is a role for parents to play there in terms of setting guidelines and doing right by their kids. He also pointed out that there are certain policies and certain situations where it’s virtually impossible for parents to do right by their kids. And trying to confront those obstacles to responsible parenting is one thing that we all need to take responsibility for and not just pin that responsibility on police officers who already have a very difficult job.

But the President, even dating back to his first presidential campaign — and you covered some of these events — remember that the President, in rather colorful fashion on occasion, talked about how important it is for parents to impose some guidelines and to impose some structure on their kids, and that that was going to be critical to their success, and that there is a lot, there’s a significant role for the government to play in terms of putting in place policies — like good schools, economic opportunity, early childhood education, even making sure that kids have good access to health care I think are in line with the kinds of things that the government can do to try to address some of these endemic problems.

But the President also believes that we should not overlook the critically important role that parents can play in setting some guidelines and setting some structure for their kids to give them a chance to succeed.

Q Based on your memory and my memory of that particular speech — and you, I’m sure, have seen the video, you have a hunch the President has seen it. Without saying whether or not the President would have acted in a similar way or endorse Michelle asking in a similar way, do you think he would generally be okay with what he saw and this ultimate result, which was to discourage her son from participating further in the activity?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what I — why don’t I just say it this way. I think what resonated with me is — and he has got a lot more experience being a parent than I do, but let me just say what resonated with me —

Q As do I. (Laughter.)

MR. EARNEST: As do you. So maybe we should hear what resonated with you. But let me just say that the thing that resonated with me was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray. And while I’m sure that it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his safety and his well-being and her love for her child. And I think that is a very powerful expression about the role that parents can play, that that expression of love was very conspicuous and one that I think will serve as a powerful influence on that young man’s life.

And that same kind of passion and concern and love for the well-being of one’s child I do think is the kind of thing that can contribute to a young man or woman having the kind of opportunity to succeed that a lot of other kids don’t get.

WH Mothers Day 2015

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Happy Mother’s Day

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12 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day

  1. WH

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

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  2. Happy Mother’s Day 2015
    .

    April 29, 2015

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks on the topic of Baltimore resident Toya Graham’s interaction with her son Michael

    James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

    Q One last thing. The President often has talked, when issues of racial tension have come up, about how he perceives things, or tries to look at things as a father. Toya Graham is being talked about as sort of a hero mom for her specific and videotaped interaction with her son in some of the more intense moments that occurred in Baltimore. I’m just curious — has the President seen any of that? Does he have any evaluation of it? Does he believe it is something that adds to our understanding about the role of parents in situations like this?

    MR. EARNEST: I haven’t spoken to the President about this specific thing. I do feel confident in hazarding a guess that he has seen the video. The President, as he alluded to in the Rose Garden yesterday, does believe that there is a role for parents to play there in terms of setting guidelines and doing right by their kids. He also pointed out that there are certain policies and certain situations where it’s virtually impossible for parents to do right by their kids. And trying to confront those obstacles to responsible parenting is one thing that we all need to take responsibility for and not just pin that responsibility on police officers who already have a very difficult job.

    But the President, even dating back to his first presidential campaign — and you covered some of these events — remember that the President, in rather colorful fashion on occasion, talked about how important it is for parents to impose some guidelines and to impose some structure on their kids, and that that was going to be critical to their success, and that there is a lot, there’s a significant role for the government to play in terms of putting in place policies — like good schools, economic opportunity, early childhood education, even making sure that kids have good access to health care I think are in line with the kinds of things that the government can do to try to address some of these endemic problems.

    But the President also believes that we should not overlook the critically important role that parents can play in setting some guidelines and setting some structure for their kids to give them a chance to succeed.

    Q Based on your memory and my memory of that particular speech — and you, I’m sure, have seen the video, you have a hunch the President has seen it. Without saying whether or not the President would have acted in a similar way or endorse Michelle asking in a similar way, do you think he would generally be okay with what he saw and this ultimate result, which was to discourage her son from participating further in the activity?

    MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what I — why don’t I just say it this way. I think what resonated with me is — and he has got a lot more experience being a parent than I do, but let me just say what resonated with me —

    Q As do I. (Laughter.)

    MR. EARNEST: As do you. So maybe we should hear what resonated with you. But let me just say that the thing that resonated with me was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray. And while I’m sure that it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his safety and his well-being and her love for her child. And I think that is a very powerful expression about the role that parents can play, that that expression of love was very conspicuous and one that I think will serve as a powerful influence on that young man’s life.

    And that same kind of passion and concern and love for the well-being of one’s child I do think is the kind of thing that can contribute to a young man or woman having the kind of opportunity to succeed that a lot of other kids don’t get.

    • Honoring Mothers on Mother’s Day

      May 10, 2015 9:39 AM VOA News

      Sunday is Mother’s Day in the U.S. and scores of countries around the world.

      Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate and appreciate all the work that women do.

      According to the History Channel, Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914, due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, who saw the holiday as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers make for their children.

      Jarvis had originally envisioned Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. However, when the day became an official holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants pounced to capitalize on the day’s popularity.

      Jarvis felt the commercialism was destroying Mother’s Day and disowned the holiday before her death in 1948. She had even lobbied the government to remove the holiday from the American calendar.

      But Mother’s Day persists. It is one of the most popular holidays and is one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending.

    • A Mother’s Day Surprise from President Obama

      Published on May 10, 2015

      President Obama calls three unsuspecting mothers who had written to him recently to wish them a happy Mother’s Day.

    • Thousands join anti-violence Mother’s Day march in Boston

      Participants included Ursula Ward, Denise Richard

      Published 5:40 PM EDT May 10, 2015

      BOSTON —Thousands of people including crime victims’ families, law enforcement and political leaders have joined in Boston’s annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.

      This year’s participants included Ursula Ward, the mother of Odin Lloyd, the man former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of killing in 2013. Also marching was Denise Richard, the mother of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

      The event was started in 1996 and still is led by Tina Chery, head of an anti-violence organization. Chery’s 15-year-old son was killed in gang crossfire in 1993 as he walked to an anti-violence youth event.

      Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans were among those joining the walk Sunday in through the city’s Dorchester neighborhood.

      Organizers estimate at least 10,000 people took part.

    • Parenting While Black: Toya Graham on Violence, Fear and Freddie Gray

      AUGUST 11, 2015 By CARLA MURPHY – TPM

      A well-dressed woman in a cropped yellow jacket and a Beyoncé weave advances through a group of teenagers. The unlucky target: a tall boy in a black hoodie and a balaclava. Under her glare, he shrinks. The young man allows himself to be slapped repeatedly and pushed away from the crowd.

      “Take that mother[bleep] mask off!” she yells. “You wanna be seen? Take it off!”

      The last few seconds of that encounter were captured on video, and became one of the most viewed YouTube clips of raw street footage this year—more than devastating footage of Eric Garner’s death in New York City, Walter Scott’s in South Carolina, or Charly Keunang’s on L.A.’s Skid Row. The 50-second video, soon broadcast on CBS and CNN, was shot the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral in April, when hundreds of Baltimore residents rioted in protest of his death after he sustained a spinal injury while in police custody. It’s received more than 8 million views.

      The woman in the video is Toya Graham, then 42, a single parent to five girls, ages 14 to 24. The young man is her only son, 16-year-old Michael, and she says that day she had spied a rock in his hand. For a minute there, she was a national hero. #Motheroftheyear trended on Twitter. Oprah called.

      “Forget the National Guard,” the New York Post declared. “SEND IN THE MOMS.”

      Most parents fear the moment when their children will do something dumb and dangerous. Graham’s moment just happened to be very public—and after the praise, she became a lightning rod for debate around whether African Americans should hit their children. “Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child?” asked Stacey Patton, an opponent of corporal punishment, in the Washington Post. Politicians and pastors batted back, expressing thanks that the old-school Strong Black Mother type still exists. “There was a time when Black children were the best behaved children in the world [and that was a time] when our mothers behaved like Toya Graham,” wrote Philadelphia Tribune columnist Alonzo Kittrels.

      But besides a black mother’s strength, something else was on view that day: Graham’s vulnerability. Her son Michael “will not be a Freddie Gray,” she posted on Facebook, a line she repeated when national media called. She could have simply said, “I love my son.” But Graham’s choice of words highlight fears that took root long before Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury in that police van on April 12.

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/theslice/parenting-while-black-toya-graham-baltimore-freddie-gray

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