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Diane Phillips: Take To The Streets - Moms Lives Matter Too

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Diane Phillips

There’s a potential major movement that hasn’t attracted a blaring headline or, come to think of it, a single official member yet. But you can feel its rumblings stirring. Even if it got fully organized, even if it huffed and puffed and built numbers and momentum, its members would be mostly selfless, well-behaved people who would never incite a fuss, let alone stage a riot, take to looting or toss hand grenades. They’d probably be cleaning, polishing and storing the ammo.

They are mothers and the movement I’m waiting for is Moms Lives Matter.

I’m a mom. I know our lives matter.

I’m not complaining. I’m a lucky mom with, objectively speaking, two amazing, high-achieving, intelligent, compassionate, stunning daughters. Their lives matter to me a lot.

But here’s how I know that like other mothers, I am probably not at the top of their most-important-things-to-remember-this-morning list.

My younger daughter moved out of the family home many years ago. Only she forgot a few things, like a room full of stuff she promised to sort through shortly after the turn of the century so if I ever want to use the drawers or closet or shelves in her old bedroom - which would now be my home office and does house a small desk under a window with one computer - I could make the space my proper office.

More recently, she got preoccupied (she is a very busy person) and wasn’t able to clear out the lovely apartment downstairs where she and her husband lived during the COVID lockdown. We were happy to have them with us, mind you. Thrilled, in fact, that we had extra adults to talk to without sending a zoom invitation.

My older daughter lives farther away and the reason I’d like to let her know that Moms Lives Matter is whenever I say “How about The Bahamas this year for the holidays?” she has other plans which normally end up including calling me several times on Christmas Day when putting the turkey in the oven to assure me she loves me and asking about how long at what temperature should the bird cook per pound.

Near or far, their lives matter a lot to me and this is not meant as an invite to a pity party, but a dose of reality on behalf of all those moms out there. We need to organize. We need to stand up for our rights not just on Mother’s Day when we are eyelash-batting grateful to be taken out for brunch after we cooked the other 364 days a year.

We need to motivate and inspire and let the world know that Moms Lives Matter and when we ask adult children to clean out teen drawers, our lives matter. When we ask adult children to bring their children to our table for the holidays, our lives matter. When we say Moms Lives Matter what we mean is we spent so many years loving you, we just want you to love us back.

And when we speak, pay a little bit of attention to what we ask. We’re not begging you to sign up for the armed forces, we are only asking for a little tenderness and a lot more of your time. Is it so much to ask?

Moms Lives Matter could be the least militant, gentlest movement ever, but then appealing to someone’s conscience might prove a powerful tool for change. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Speaking of conscience, the new curbside dilemma

When it comes to traditional dining out, the toughest decision used to be choosing what to order. But for months after the explosion of COVID-19, the act of dining out assumed a danger level akin to matchsticks and dry wood. Restaurants shuttered as if a hurricane were barreling down on them. We cooked at home. And cooked. And cooked some more.

And then Phase 2 of the eating in the midst of a pandemic process began. As lockdowns were lifted and restrictions eased, we slowly shifted, daring to buy and relish food prepared by someone else. It was different, of course, not like actually being in a restaurant. We longed for the pleasure of conversation and the ambiance. We missed the luxury of linens and sparkling glassware and soft candlelight on the table. We just missed being out but how could we combine the two, go out and social distance at the same time when the very concept of social distancing during dining is an anathema – the reason we go out is to socialize.

Since most of our eating out remains curbside, we face a new dilemma, not what to order, but whether or not to tip when a sack is handed to us through a car window or after we shove money under a plexiglass opening.

Like it or not, here’s my take: Even if that food is passed like a sack of cans in a bag, it’s not the fault of the chef or ‘server’. That individual is as COVIctimized as you and may have been out of work for four months with a family to feed. So go ahead, give a little something if you can. The gratuity in curbside takeaway is not for service. It’s for kindness.

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MORE than 80 Dominican fishermen were apprehended by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force after they were caught fishing in Bahamian waters. They were brought before the Chief Magistrate and Deputy Chief Magistrate for sentencing. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Congrats on poaching convictions, fines

With a major push from all sides—a passionate Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, diligent NGOs, private voices now making themselves hear, and with better strategy and equipment thanks to the Sandy Bottom Project enabling the RBDF to get to remote islands faster - the clamour to protect the waters of The Bahamas for Bahamians is the loudest, strongest it has ever been.

This week that fierce determination led to the arrest, conviction and fining of some 80 Dominicans caught fishing illegally on the Great Bahama Bank. Thirty crew members on one vessel were fined $20,000 or six months in prison. Its captain was fined $30,000 or nine months’ imprisonment. It’s a drop in the bucket to the massive catches of fish, conch and crawfish that Dominicans have raped from the 'Lucayan Sea' in the past but it sets an example and we say congratulations to all involved.

Keep up the demands to protect and preserve every marine resource in these beautiful waters lest we wind up like most Caribbean island nations, locals longing for bygone days when they could swim from a beach and find conch or dive on a shallow reef and put grouper on the table for a Saturday morning boil.

Murder, she wrote

Next week, after a lighter touch today, this column will tackle two tough issues, homelessness and violent crimes. See how The Bahamas compares with other jurisdictions and what makes this country so unique when it comes to those living on the streets. For a sneak peek, The Bahamas showed a sharp decline from a high of 146 in 2015 to 95 homicides in 2019. What accounts for the difference? Where do the experts think we are heading? If the murder rate is declining, why do we feel so unsafe?

Next week. Serious talk. And Potcake on homelessness.

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