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Entrepreneur Meghan Joy Yancy On Success & Raising 6 Kids In A Multicultural Household

Motherhood

xoNecole's Moms Who Inspire series highlights modern day moms mastering all the tasks on their plate, from day to day responsibilities to ensuring their children are kind, educated and well-rounded human beings. Each mother describes their inspiration, what motherhood means to them, and how they maintain their sense of selves while being the superwoman we all know and love.


For Meghan Joy Yancy, stewarding little hearts and minds and raising kind and loving humans is a pretty big deal.

The homeschooling, stay-at-home mom of six and entrepreneur is raising a multicultural family, and therefore takes motherhood very seriously. She's very cognizant that her mothering, her faith, and the atmosphere in which she raises her children will impact the adults they grow into. Meghan is truly a "glass half-full" type of woman and believes her message is to share the joy of living for today with others and create a community of believers who strive for greatness in all they do.

As a Mom Who Inspires us by cultivating an atmosphere of passion and encouragement within her home, Meghan walks us through how she helps her family spread love and joy every day.

On teaching her children to honor each culture's traditions and be proud of their heritage:

Being that we homeschool, we have such beautiful opportunities to expose our children to diversity and being able to honor their culture.

In our studies and exploration, they are so intrigued with learning about the pieces that make them uniquely themselves. Our oldest daughter is fascinated with travel and if she could go anywhere, it would be the three places where her blood runs from: Liberia, Germany, and Sweden. She loves knowing the different areas of the world that were brought together in her mommy and daddy, which resulted in her mixed heritage. We get the opportunity to have discussions about it and explore the beautiful cultures. Plus, we live in a diverse community and attend a diverse church, which makes it a natural aspect of our lives.

On what helped her become successful and deal with the hard times:

Resilience. When I start something I truly believe in, I'm not going to stop until it's completed. I don't care how long it takes, I'm in it for the long haul. When I began my business, I just knew this would be something I would be doing forever. I told my husband, "I will never NOT be doing this." And so, quitting was never even an option. Quitting wasn't on the table. It wasn't in my mindset. Only pushing forward.

On the life lesson she shares with her children:

You get to choose your attitude. It can be a great day or a horrible day. That is totally up to you. My whole life mantra is about living for today and finding joy in the ordinary and when my kids decide to have a bad attitude or make a big deal out of little situations, I am always reminding them that we have control over our emotions and how we react to situations.

We have the power to CHOOSE how we will view life and how we will live.

On the unexpected life lesson her kids are teaching her:

Patience. Gosh, so much patience. Pick your battles. Don't cry over spilled milk. Messes are constantly being made, things are continually being broken, and I used to flip out every time. Now, I have learned to take a deep breath, clean it up, and move on. Growing up, when us kids broke things, my mom adopted the saying, "Less is more," and she stopped getting upset about all the broken items. And it's been a good reminder for me now as a mother. I still teach the kids respect and responsibility for our actions and to be good stewards of the things we have, but in the same breath, not getting attached to THINGS. That's been a big thing that the kids have taught me.

On her favorite way to relax with her children:

Dance parties. They keep me young and free and wild. They keep me hip and cool. I love their free spirits and it brings so much joy. I also just love sitting on the ground and reading with them or coloring with them. We've got our music on in the background and it can be so peaceful and grounding.

On the three words that represent her approach to motherhood:

Grace. Compassion. Understanding. I am going to make mistakes. I am going to do things wrong. And I want to continually walk in grace. For myself and for my kids. And I've got a lot of kids, so my mothering looks differently with each of them. My approach is different for each kid and so getting to know their individual personality makes a difference in how I show love to them and how I discipline them.

On the unique way she shows her kids she loves them:

I sing them a song and say a prayer for them every night before bed. But I've created my own remix of our song that I snap to and do the "Carlton" dance to. It's super corny and cheesy but we love singing and dancing to it each night. Oftentimes, I just stare at my kids during the day, grab their face in my hands, and tell them how much I love them.

I never want a day to pass where they don't know that.

On preserving the characteristics of the woman she was before becoming a mother:

I don't want to. I am continually striving to become a better person and mother and human each day. The woman I was before was great and all, but I have grown into an even better woman. And you know when people throw the whole, "Wow, you've changed" comment out at you. My response? "Heck YES!" I hope I have changed. I don't want to stay the same. I want to grow in wisdom and patience and grace. And the really neat thing is that I get to be me WHILE I am in the trenches of motherhood. Being me and pursuing my own dreams doesn't have to wait until the kids are grown. And my kids don't have to be put to the side while I chase my dreams. We get to do it all together as a family.

On how she practices self-care:

I no longer hold on to "mom guilt." At the end of the day, instead of going through in my mind everything I did wrong that day, or thinking about everything I didn't do, I think about the great things that happened.

I think about the snuggles I gave my kids, the hustle I gave to my work, the relationships I poured into, the text message I sent my husband at work, the delicious hot meal I made, and the moments I got on the ground and played with the kids. Some days, after dinner, I go lock myself in the bathroom and take a hot bath. Throughout my day, if the kids are busy playing, I'll take 15 minutes to sit in my hammock in my office and read a good book. Most Sundays, I go to Starbucks to spend a few hours by myself and write. But I am no longer feeling guilty over working out some times with my husband where I can invest in ME.

If I fill my cup up, I have more to give to all of them.

For more Meghan, follow her on Instagram.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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