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J.ILL the Podcast


The relationships children have with their mothers are so diverse and dynamic. But many of us expect our mothers to be our provider, our teacher, our savior, and our source of comfort. When we are naive, growing children, it’s hard to recognize our mothers as whole human beings who have lives beyond those roles. But as we get older and gain more distance and perspective, we realize that our mothers were trying to navigate this challenging world, just like we are. And we can start to give our mothers – flaws and all – a little more grace. Aja, Jill, and Laiya reflect on some of the moments in which they saw their mothers’ humanity, and they reckon with the joy, insight, pain, and empathy that those moments awakened. Plus, a conversation on parenting, freedom, and soul work with sociologist Dr. Janice Johnson Dias.

Episode: Seeing the Humanity of Our Mothers
Recorded on March 3, 2021
Original audio link

Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, co-creator of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), a public health and social justice organization that develops, scales, and funds community health initiatives for impoverished women and girls, has been described as a force of nature. Janice is a scholar-activist whose life’s work is developing research-informed, innovative solutions to the challenges facing the urban poor, particularly underserved black mothers and their children. Dr. Johnson Dias currently lives in West Orange, New Jersey, with her husband, Scott Dias, a geographer, their daughter Marley, and dog Philly.

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