BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Two hours away from where the Dye family lives, protests have been held for more than a week in Louisville in response to the death of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.
The Dye household has navigated change since March because of the coronavirus, with the oldest daughter, Nia, returning home from college and celebrating 3 online graduations. With protests happening across the country, race-based stress and trauma are now topics of discussion at the dinner table.
A professor at Western Kentucky University and mother, Lacretia Dye and her husband have tried to create an open and free space for their children to express themselves, but in a way that is both productive and efficient.
“Me personally, discussing with my children trying to make sure that that fire that they have about it, is channeled in a way that’s productive and that they ain’t just ready to go off and snap on people for this releasing because clearly we all need to release but I want them to know that to release you want to be intentional and think about the impact of your release,” says Lacretia.
Aware of the world they live in, she knows kids are constantly surrounded by social media, where things can be said and shared within an instant. Lacretia says, as a black mother it can be hard to protect her children’s innocence, while actively supporting their activism.
“If you want to protest you know I’m down and I support that, but I still have the fear of I don’t want nothing to happen to my baby,” says Lacretia. Her youngest son, Robbie Dye, is trying to navigate conversations with friends who may have different opinions, or say things he finds hurtful.
“It just kind of hurts to see that you have to, as a people go through this extent to just barely be heard,” says Robbie.
Lacretia tries to instill mental and emotional confidence in all her children. She also reminds them of their right to walk away or engage in a conversation.
“Protesting is also informing people and educating them, but not in a way that is like I want to attack you and make you feel bad for what you don’t know,” says Dye.
Nia, a recent graduate of Centre College in Danville, says her mom has instilled in her tools that she has utilized in school and will continue to use as she navigates the professional world.
“My mom especially has always given me a platform to like express how I may feel about different issues. Always been supportive and like trying to instill our own voice within us,” says Nia.
Lacretia says the most important thing every parent can do in the times that we are living is to listen, support and encourage children to learn, grow, and educate