Kim Kaiser’s son was 10 years old when she first spoke with him about the challenges he’d face as a black man with disabilities.
It’s a conversation they’ve continued every day since, and it covers a little bit of everything. How should he act in public? Where should he put his hands? How should he respond if police stop him? What type of people should he avoid?
In the days following George Floyd’s death, Kaiser was careful to speak with her son about that, too. Her son, now 14, had questions of his own.
“He said to me, ‘Mommy, are you going to be here to save me when the police put a knee on my neck? Because George Floyd called for his mommy. What would happen if I called for my mommy?’” Kaiser said.
For many mothers of black children across the country, it’s an all-too-familiar refrain: raising black kids means raising them in the specter of fear.
“Now add in a disability,” said Kaiser, who’s been an advocate for people with disabilities and disenfranchised communities for nearly four decades.
“We are twice as fearful raising our children in this country.”
It’s a fear Maria Davis-Pierre knows well. Following her 8-year-old daughter’s autism diagnosis, she created Autism in Black, a company that supports black parents through education and advocacy services while bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorder.