The Executive Director of The BLK ProjeK,
a food justice and public/mental health organization committed to urban
farming and the elimination of food deserts, Fields and her work are
gradually, quietly revolutionizing low-income neighborhoods in one of
many cities in this nation where it is toughest to survive while poor.
… And folks are focused on her family dynamics?
Some might argue Fields is an exception to the single mom rule:
educated and at the frontlines of activism while low-income and
expecting a fifth child. Those who’d make this argument would assert
that “most” black single mothers are not invested in the betterment of
their communities and are instead solely reliant on their communities to
invest in them.
The mothers featured here at Beyond Baby Mamas time and again defy
that logic. We are non-profit workers, college professors, hospital
workers, writers, artists, intellectuals, engineers, public servants,
students at all levels of education. There are too many of us to be
Black single motherhood is not just diverse in its professional
representations; we have distinct attitudes toward our families,
personal narratives that may converge at some points but all possess
unique characteristics. And we deserve to be able to believe about
ourselves and our children that which makes us strongest and most
But friends, family, and strangers actively work not only to attack
that belief but to willfully ignore any and all work we do for the
betterment of our own families and others’. They do this in the name of
advancing a single narrative black single mothers as poor, money-hungry,
lazy, bitter, and/or pitiable. And, to Tanya Fields’ point, plenty of
them are black and brown like us.
It can be exhausting to get out of bed and challenge those deeply ingrained stereotypes. It can
be paralyzing to face a world that won’t acknowledge your pain, your
disappointment, or your endurance — an endurance that, some days, is
nothing short of heroic.
This was what made that moment last Friday so significant. For once,
for a few moments, we all bore witness to a single mother as a whole
woman and were all called to contend with any of our own culpability in
making her and women like her feel so staggeringly tired.