Princess Mack

Princess has 4 children; the two youngest, ages 6 & 7, are in NNE Denver schools. She is a Program Coordinator for Together Colorado’s Parent Mentor Program working with 20 parent mentors in 4 schools. She has been involved as a parent mentor since 2012 and is also a member of the Lifelines to Healing Committee.

Reflecting on how her world has grown through her involvement with Together Colorado, she remembers how she worked with the parent mentors, the vast majority of whom are Latinas, to break down stereotypes and build community:

“When we were able to hear each other’s stories, we found that we have so many similarities, we share the same fears and desires.  No longer was it them and us, it became we.  We found common ground.  And we began to rebuild our relationships, setting aside the hurt and the stereotypes and building a genuine bond.  Breaking past the ugliness of my stereotypes allowed me to become my brother’s keeper. 

I love the parent mentor group.  I love what it has allowed me to become. There are a couple African-American leaders involved now. They are going through the same thing I went through and it allows me to be the voice of reason for them, encouraging them to look through a different lens. 

For someone who is struggling in life, it is easy to attack the person next to you.  Now when I encounter people who have a jaded sense of another ethnicity, I try to help them to understand that ugliness in their heart and why it is there.

It is still a struggle.  It is still easy to fall back in to the ugliness.  For me I have to process it out, understand where it is coming from. 

Language remains a challenge.  I really try to make it a point to incorporate a few words of Spanish into my conversations. The only way to get a corrective piece on that is to really focus on developing it ourselves—that our children that are interacting through Together Colorado are becoming bilingual.  They can play with others even if they don’t understand them.  The consequence when we don’t do this is the negative attitudes.

To think that I never would have met Cruz, or Angela or Chelsea if I had stayed in that bubble, separated by hurt and stereotypes; it is sad and it motivates me to want to do more.”