A letter from our founder, Rachelle, to her two boys:
Dear Maxwell and Dash,
On Tuesday, Donald Trump was elected to be our next president. You don't yet understand what this entails but you keep asking me things like “what will the new rules be?” and “will my daddy have to live in Mexico now?” I have been at a loss this week for what to say or do. I decided that I’d write some things down so that we have them straight in our house. I want you guys to know where we stand on these things, okay?
1. I need you to know that I come from a place where you are taught that it is disrespectful and terrible to talk about politics in polite conversation. Know that this is complete craziness. Politics affects everyone. Our leaders make policies and decisions that can and do change the entire world. They will affect your children and grandchildren. It is perhaps the MOST important thing we can talk about with each other. It makes me incredibly sad that there are many people out there who voted for Donald Trump, not because they wanted to, but because they come from an uniformed place. There are many that didn’t feel the need to vote at all. They simply did not grasp the enormity of their civic power. We MUST talk to each other about politics. Whenever, wherever.
2. Your father and I believe strongly that as parents, we are only as happy as our least happy child. When you show me something you worked hard on and I can feel your pride, it makes me melt inside. When you come home from school and shyly relay to me that your feelings were hurt by a kid that day, or when I drop you off at school and sometimes see you playing alone under the slide, I hide my despair, but later I weep for you. I believe that you can judge a country on how it treats its least privileged people. Period. What does this even mean? For starters, it means that we give people basics to build their lives on. Going to the doctor is NOT fun. You know this. Remind yourself of this when anyone tries to tell you that some people are scamming our system to get healthcare, or pick up food for that matter. They are not going to the doctor or the grocery store because these are fun places to hang out in. They are going to these sterile unfriendly places because if they didn't, they would perish. We need to give basic things, including healthcare, to our people. Period.
3. You know what IS fun? Science. I love science. And, I hope someday you will too. It is so remarkably cool to figure out how the earth works. It is magical and beautiful and, dare I say Holy. I already know you are both geniuses, obviously, but please remember there are people out there that do not respect Science. They think that the Chinese came up with global warming or worse, they just say they think these things because it fills up their piggy banks. They refuse to look at the FACTS. Sadly, they do not believe that their actions have REactions - something that is such a fundamental truth of life that it may seem mind boggling to you, but that is the way it is. It is our responsibility to lead by example and to teach them. It may seem quirky to compost. Be quirky. Quirky people put a man on the moon and they are they ones who will cure cancer and save our planet. We need to support them in any way we can.
4. You are both blond boys with blue eyes. You are beautiful. I look at you and my insides swell with pride and love. You are also Mexican. Never ever ever forget this. People won’t believe you when you tell them, but you are just as Mexican as you are Czech and Scottish and French and German. We are ALL immigrants. Always remember this. Our country was built for immigrants and anyone that lands here deserves the same rights and privileges that you do. Know that your father and I will always support and protect our hardworking neighbors. Also, know that there are people out there who are not as lucky as you. They don’t have best friends who have black skin like Calvin or have moms that wear scarves on their heads like Amir. They don't have godfathers like Zev who are Jewish like you do. They don’t know your cousins Elaidy and Janessa who are beautiful smart young black women, or your surfing grandmother who is Mexican. You haven’t seen the “Wizard of Oz” yet but someday you will. Remember that you live in color, but many people still live in black and white. Sadly, there are even others out there that think people that don’t look like you should be killed just because of their skin color. I know! It’s seriously whacko! Please don’t forget this. It’s too whacko to forget so I know you won’t. When you are older we will talk more about what we can do to stop this wackiness from spreading.
5. There are also people out there that don’t have a classmate with two daddies and no mommy like Owen, or neighbors on the block that have two mommies and no daddy. Now, this is going to sound cray cray to you but there are actually people out there that think that these people should be sent to doctors to change who they love. This is bananas! We love who we love and love trumps hate. Always. In fact, get this, genders (like being a boy or a girl) didn’t even exist back in the olden days. Like the way olden days when humans were hunting and gathering things. There are still several cultures out in the world that recognize four, five, even seven different genders! I hope we become one of them. In the meantime, know that there are many many people who have suffered and even died so that they could just love the person their heart told them to love. Don’t ever forget this.
6. Where I come from, the only thing worse to talk about in “polite conversations” than politics is religion. This is dumb. Where we come from and what happens to us when we die are the two core fundamental questions of life. I can’t wait to discuss them in detail with you both. I encourage you to talk about religion and ask questions about it to anyone you’d like to- just be respectful when you do. This is heavy stuff because it’s the most important stuff, and because of that, it is a sensitive subject. You have and you will continue asking me these big questions. Please know I will never lie to you but I also do not have these answers in the neat way that you want them in. I am constantly searching for my faith. I spend time on a daily basis in meditation. I believe there is something beyond this life. I believe there is something bigger than us. I believe in magic. I believe in miracles. I also know that there are people who spend the same solitary moments each day praying to their own God, or to Allah or to Mohammed. I also know many people do not believe. Furthermore, there are people out there who believe in stones or in the stars and, get this, even in spaghetti. And, who are we to say they shouldn’t? Listen. These questions about the meaning of life go even beyond politics, but know this: there are people dying out there for what they believe is the answer to these questions. This is wrong. This is bad. We must try our hardest to elect leaders to stop this sort of thing in our world in a peaceful and productive manner.
7. Okay, I left the best for last. When I became a mommy of two boys I knew I had an incredible responsibility. I had the opportunity 5 years ago to choose between running my company or letting it go. I thought long and hard about this decision. I knew it would mean missing things I really didn’t want to miss. School pickups and library days and karate practices. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Here’s the thing. I love my job. I love going to work every day. I love seeing you watch me leading others in my office at work. I know you think I made the right choice. I know it because you give me the artwork that you worked the very hardest on to me “for my office.” You are proud to have it hang there. Here’s the other thing. I am super duper lucky. The very luckiest. Your daddy loves me and respects me. He also supports us. We are so very lucky to have him and we need to really remember this every day - especially on the days when he misses dinner because he is still working. There are boys and girls out there who don’t have their daddies take them to school every morning, or buy them clothes in their favorite colors. But also, and I really don’t want to even be the one to tell you this but I must, there are bad guys out there who treat women very very very badly. They somehow forget that they once were very little boys like you who had mamas that did everything for them - even wipe their butts! HELLO!? Their mamas did this for them because they loved them so much. To the moon and back. You may have noticed that boys and girls are different. But, never forget that they have the same hearts and heads and souls. Never forget that at one point in your existence, we didn’t know whether you were a boy or a girl and that we were ecstatic about you either way. You were you. I know that you will always treat girls well because you will be taught to by us. What I don’t know is to what extent you will spend your lives combating the hatred that our girls face each and every day on this planet. I hope your efforts at combating this evil are far greater than mine.
Boys, there is a man who was elected our president who seems to go against every single truth we believe in that I just laid out above. We have to hope that he will be a good president. We have to try our best to support him in office because we live in a democracy we believe in and that system put him in power. We do NOT have to support his values. And, we do NOT. We WILL NOT. And, if there ever comes a time when, god forbid, our new president acts against our truths above, we will stand up together against him. There is a man you will read about in school that did such amazingly horrible things in a society in Germany that you will want to throw up your lunches when you hear it. You will actually not really even believe it. When I was told this story I myself did not believe it. You MUST listen to the story. You MUST believe it happened. Because it did. And it started very very slowly and with many many people saying “yeah but he would never actually do the things he says he will do.” We can only hope Trump will not do the horrible things he says he will do. But if he ever does, I know that I can count on you. I know that you will be brave. I know that you are smart. I know that you won’t forget the story about the people in Germany.
Okay, finally. Maxwell and Dashy- remember this. There are more good people out there in this world than bad people. Remember that there are hundreds of white men all over the world RIGHT NOW who are giving up their subway seat for a mama that needs it. Remember there are people who dedicate their entire lives to teaching, to giving, to caring for others. They don’t make the newspaper headlines but they are performing small miracles every single second of the day. Also, one really bad action needs like a thousand good ones to counteract it. Which means we need to be diligent about putting good out there. I know you will and I am so proud to be your Mama.