The Power of Mothers

One of the priorities of the new Qualls organization is to revive the value and benefits of education and marriage in the black community. Qualls plans to empower the experiences of mothers and grandmothers as a force multiplier.

The tragedy of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis was hijacked when politicians made it about police brutality and systemic racism, concealing the underlying issue in the process. In response to Floyd’s death and the subsequent rioting, Dean Phillips, the representative from Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, joined a long list of progressive politicians when he issued a statement condemning white Minnesotans and magnifying the belief that the problems facing black Americans are rooted in white privilege and systemic racism. I countered with my own statement that there are racist people in our country, but we’re not a racist country— and that’s a very important distinction. I also pointed out that the American Dream is alive and well. It worked for me, and I plan to work tirelessly in Minneapolis and across the state to convey how it still works for everyone, including black Americans, regardless of their circumstances.

Despite the prevailing narrative, the biggest issue facing black Americans is not police brutality or racism. Do we need to find a just and swift process for getting rid of bad cops? Absolutely. But the biggest issue facing the black community is the breakdown of the family precipitated by fatherless homes. This has not always been a problem in the black community. In the 1960s, nearly 75 percent of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, 80 percent of black children in Hennepin County alone are raised in fatherless homes. We’ll never solve any problem in black communities until we resolve that issue first.

Until now we’ve addressed symptoms—poverty, joblessness, crime—through political maneuvers, government programs and allocation of billions of dollars. But this is a cultural and generational problem that needs to be addressed through leaders in the community, education and empowered women who have been on this journey for five or more decades. In the process, we must also address the mental and emotional prison of victimhood reinforced by politicians, academia and the media.

Mothers and grandmothers are a catalyst for change. The tough DUI laws we have today did not originate with politicians. They were initiated by heartbroken mothers (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers–MADD) who were angry about losing loved ones at the hands of repeat offenders who returned to the roads after no or little punishment for their crimes. In the same manner, my new organization TakeCharge Minnesota will enlist the support of mothers and grandmothers who are angry as they watch their children and grandchildren suffer from the calamity of crime-ridden streets, joblessness, and poor schooling, all intensified by the absence of fathers in homes.

TakeCharge Minnesota will remind mothers and grandmothers of a time when the black community had little in regard to tangible wealth but was rich in a heritage of faith, family and a keen interest for a good education for their children. When Martin Luther King, Jr., marched for civil rights in the 1960s, roughly 77 percent of black children were raised in two-parent homes. King’s sacrifices—including his life—have resulted in the deterioration of the status of black Americans, while politicians from their communities prosper like royalty. Their lust for power has blinded them to their responsibilities and duty to address the issue—restoration of the black family. We will fight to liberate black Americans, reinforce King’s dream, and empower them with the belief that America’s promises, which are embedded in the U.S. Constitution, are for all citizens.