This Mother's Day, I'm Fighting to End the Mass Incarceration of Our Children

On a day like today, when everyone is smiling and wishing you a happy Mother's Day, a part of me is not so happy. Today reminds me of the day my son entered a plea deal. Just before he agreed, he looked at me, and my gut was screaming, "Noooo!" Nothing was right.

My son suffered from PTSD after the murder of his brother, my second son. He was the third and last. He got into some serious mischief with a girl that lured him away from me with some Bonnie and Clyde nonsense. They hired a lawyer and he got 6 years, she got 6 days.

I started to ask questions and found out there were sisters in the community going through the same thing. I kept asking about Jail, then prison. I knew I had to stay strong; I couldn't let him know about the times I cried. I cried hard that snot all over my face. I realized I had to educate myself about the Texas criminal justice system.

I participated in a prison ministry at my church and kept asking questions. I heard about a meeting with people dealing with criminal justice issues and learned they were going to have a training for people who had been locked up or had loved ones incarcerated.

Texas Advocates for Justice (TAJ), a project of Grassroots Leadership, gave me the direction I needed. TAJ opened a door for me and other mothers with loved ones in prison to be educated and participate in actions to end the mass incarceration of our children.

This Mother's Day, I honor every mother who has struggled with visitation, phone calls from prisons, trust fund deposits, care packages, direct delivery of commissary; bought books, paper and pens; sent money for shoes and hot pots; and sent messages for a friend. No matter how dark things may appear, the light of your love preserves our sons and daughters.