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Justice starts in the bedroom.

Dr. Katie Cannon, known for her expertise in womanist & black ethics (and for being @nickcannon – of the @mariahcarey Nick Cannon’s aunt) said this during a discourse in graduate school to my young 23-year-old self. I haven’t forgotten it.

It’s easy to talk about justice in the public sphere or about “their” need to be just. It’s very difficult to be just in our most intimate relationships – when no one is watching and when there are no hashtags to promote us.

The day of this photo, we had 3 children under the age of 2 including a 3 wk old. I can hardly remember the day, because #newborn. It’s survival. Jubilant survival. But survival. The child not in the photo was fighting a stomach bug and we lived in a one bedroom apartment in the East Village but WE WERE GOING TO TAKE NEWBORN PICTURES AND LOOK LIKE THE PERFECT FAMILY COME HELL OR HIGH WATER DAGGONE IT! (Things I didn’t realize until later but kind of love: I wore the exact same outfit for our newborn photos with our first kids!????‍♀️).

Needless to say, patience was hard to come by. In times like this, I find myself saying over and over again in my head: Justice starts in the bedroom. Justice starts in the bedroom. Justice starts …

Listening. Offering my husband grace. Receiving grace. Nursing my newborn. Not getting upset with the toddler who would not get in the photo. Being grateful for the photographer who came to our home who works hard everyday in unknown places to perfect her craft and make a living.

Today I came across a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that speaks similarly and I offer it to you.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

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