While there are many shared experiences that unite most first-time parents, the preparation for parenthood felt a little different for me and many of my friends who are raising black children in Austin.
Not only did we have to prepare ourselves for bringing a child into the world but, we also had to prepare ourselves to face many challenges that are unique to raising black children in a city where our population continues to decline.
I constantly hear Austin described as a progressive and liberal city however; my experience in this city has opened my eyes to the fact that discrimination can exist in progressive and liberal spaces.
While Austin seems all too eager to embrace “weird”, I have yet to see it fully embrace diversity and inclusivity and I can’t help but to wonder what kind of Austin my child will experience as she continues to grow up in this city.
I, like many other black mothers, want to raise children in a city where they are celebrated, valued, and seen. A city that embraces different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities.
A city, where our communities are immersed with diverse people, viewpoints, and experiences. I want my child to see herself represented in in every aspect of Austin, I want my child to walk into rooms where she is not the only minority, and I want my child to have allies in her community that will speak up on her behalf.
The lack of representation in Austin empowers me to raise a daughter who will not feel silenced or invisible but, empowered to speak her truth in rooms where she might be the only black voice.
I hope that the city my daughter experiences will be a place that allows room for diverse perspectives and actively creates spaces where we can continue to have these conversations around diversity and inclusion.
Photographer: Amy McLaughlin Photography
Bio: Amy is the Baylor trophy wife to Dan and mommy to their 4 kids: Norah, Beckett, Rory and Eden. After moving cities every 2 years for 10 years, Amy’s family settled in Austin in 2015. She started Amy McLaughlin Photography with a passion for documenting the beauty of real life and stories that matter for families and non-profits. Her photography style is intentional and meaningful. She also part-time homeschools her kids and volunteers with a local organization that seeks to help fill the gap in parental services for families whose kids are in state custody. She enjoys small-group gatherings, espresso, good books, and yoga. And she is not one to turn down dessert.