Front and Center: “Being Part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust Has Lifted a Burden Off My Shoulders as a Mom”

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series of op-eds—published by Ms. and created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust—which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies currently debated at the national level. The series highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing.

What possibilities could open up for low-income families if financial survival weren’t always top of mind? What dreams would these mothers and families be able to pursue? What activism and community leadership might arise? The series will answer these and other questions, by placing one mother’s story front and center every other week. The first-person accounts in this series are available for reprint. Find additional guidelines at the end of this story.


I grew up in Vicksburg, Miss. I moved to Jackson back in 2007. I came here to be with my sister; we had been split up when we were kids. It was a visit at first, and then I just kind of ended up moving here.

I have three kids. My 8-year-old son loves video games and anything having to do with policemen. My 6-year-old daughter is into anything pink and purple and glittery. And then I have a 10-month-old baby—her interests at this point are basically just … food.

A fun thing with my kids is that we share birthdays. My 6-year old and I have the same birthday in July, and then my son and baby were born on the same day in November. I have no idea how it happened—it’s not like I had scheduled C-sections or anything—but it does making remembering birthdays easy!

Up until July, I worked as a home health aide. It was a great job, and I loved getting to spend time with my elderly patients. I had to leave that job because I couldn’t find a babysitter, but as soon as my youngest is walking and talking, I’ll be back.

I have been in the nursing field for about eight years, and it’s something I really enjoy. I worked fast food jobs in high school, but nursing is my career. Honestly if I could pick my dream job, that’s it. It’s what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. I do want to go back to school to also become a phlebotomist and add that to my nursing resume as well. As soon as my baby is a little older, and hopefully the pandemic is more under control, I’d like to enroll again.

My 6-year-old wants to go into the medical field like me, and my son wants to be a detective. My hope for them is that they stay on the right path and that I will be the mother of a future doctor and detective!

It can be a challenge caring for three kids, but they’re also what gives me hope. I just can’t see my life without them.

With [guaranteed income] on top of the child tax credit that’s been coming monthly, it’s been so necessary for me. One helps me pay my bills; the other helps me put away a little bit for the hard times.

Being part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust has really lifted a burden off my shoulders as a mom. Before I would have to scrape together the money or ask for help from family to be able to do simple things like buy school supplies.

But this year since I was part of the program, I was able to go school shopping early. I’ve already started doing a little Christmas shopping. Before the program, I wouldn’t have ever been able to do that.

And with the Trust on top of the child tax credit that’s been coming monthly, it’s been so necessary for me. One helps me pay my bills; the other helps me put away a little bit for the hard times. I know that Congress and the president are deciding whether they are going to keep it going, and I really hope they do. If it weren’t for those payments, I wouldn’t have been able to take a little time off to care for my baby. I really don’t know what I would have done. These two things combined have done so much for me and my family; it has just uplifted me a lot and I’m very grateful.


Front and Center pieces are free to republish, under the following guidelines:

  • To ensure context isn’t lost, at the top of your reprint, include a line that reads: “Front and Center is a series of op-eds—published by Ms. magazine and created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust—highlighting the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing. The series aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies currently debated at the national level.” (You can use editorial discretion to alter or shorten the text slightly.)
  • You may also republish the photographs included in this story.
  • If you share republished stories on social media, we’d appreciate being tagged in your posts. You can find Ms. on Twitter @MsMagazine, on Instagram @ms_magazine and on Facebook. Springboard to Opportunities is on Twitter @SpringboardToOp, on Instagram @springboard_to and on Facebook.

Have questions on the series? Read more here, and direct specific questions to Katie Fleischer at [email protected].

About

Sherika is a home health aide who has used her guaranteed income payments and child tax credit to take time off work to care for her new baby.