Join us at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for an author talk with Helena Andrews Dyer on her book The Mama's: What I learned about Kids, Class, and Race from Mom's Not Like Me.
In conversation with Christina Henderson, Helena talk about her motherhood journey, and her inspiration for the book and answer a series of questions from the audience. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase following the event. This will be an evening to connect with other moms and share experiences about their journey with motherhood in Washington D.C. You can learn more about Helena, and the book below. Copies of The Mamas will be available for the first 50 attendees courtesy of the DC Library Foundation.
Helena Andrews-Dyer is an award-winning culture reporter for The Washington Post, covering the intersection of popular culture, race, politics and art in the nation’s capital. She’s written about actress Sheryl Lee Ralph’s finally getting her flowers, Vice President Kamala Harris’s deep connection to her Black sorority, and the portrayal of black fatherhood in the film “King Richard.” In 2020, Helena was awarded two National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Awards for her long-form feature “This Isn’t Another Horror Story About Black Motherhood.”
Councilmember Christina Henderson
Christina Henderson is an At-Large member of the Council of the District of Columbia. Christina’s career has been guided by the principle that one’s zip code should not determine your opportunity for success. Prior to her election in 2020, Christina advised Sen. Chuck Schumer on education, workforce, postal and census issues. She previously served in various capacities in DC government, including working at the Council and for DC Public Schools. The daughter of an Army veteran and a retired Transport Workers Union Local 100 member, Christina received her BA in Political Science from Furman University in Greenville, SC and her Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University. Christina lives in the Petworth neighborhood with her husband Nu, their daughters Jordan and Cameron, and rescue dog Langston.
Helena Andrews-Dyer lives in a “hot” Washington, D.C., neighborhood, which means picturesque row houses and plenty of gentrification. After having her first child, she joined the local mom group—“the Mamas”—and quickly realized that being one of the only Black mothers in the mix was a mixed bag. The racial, cultural, and socioeconomic differences were made clear almost immediately. But spending time in what she calls “the Polly Pocket world of postracial parenting” was a welcome reprieve. Then George Floyd happened. A man was murdered, a man who called out for his mama. And suddenly, the Mamas hit differently. Though they were alike in some ways—they want their kids to be safe; they think their husbands are lazy; they work too much and feel guilty about it—Andrews-Dyer realized she had an entirely different set of problems that her neighborhood mom friends could never truly understand.
In The Mamas, Andrews-Dyer chronicles the particular challenges she faces in a group where systemic racism can be solved with an Excel spreadsheet and where she, a Black, professional, Ivy League–educated mom, is overcompensating with every move. Andrews-Dyer grapples with her own inner tensions, like “Why do I never leave the house with the baby and without my wedding ring?” and “Why did every name we considered for our kids have to pass the résumé test?” Throw in a global pandemic and a nationwide movement for social justice, and Andrews-Dyer ultimately tries to find out if moms from different backgrounds can truly understand one another.
With sharp wit and refreshing honesty, The Mamas explores the contradictions and community of motherhood—white and Black and everything—against the backdrop of the rapidly changing world.
|Mon, May 29||Closed|
|Tue, May 30||9:30AM to 9:00PM|
|Wed, May 31||9:30AM to 9:00PM|
|Thu, Jun 01||9:30AM to 9:00PM|
|Fri, Jun 02||9:30AM to 5:30PM|
|Sat, Jun 03||9:30AM to 5:30PM|
|Sun, Jun 04||1:00PM to 5:00PM|