Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins Are 'Standing Up' Against Racial Injustice for Their Black Daughter
"I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it," Lauren Akins said of their 4-year-old daughter Willa Gray
Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins are reflecting on how important it is for their daughter Willa Gray to grow up knowing they are committed to standing up "for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin."
In a pair of moving posts, the couple reflected on fighting against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death, and how not doing so would feel like a betrayal to their 4-year-old daughter, whom they adopted from Uganda in 2017.
Addressing her experience being a white mother to a black child, Akins wrote that she had been "nervous" to open up "because of how some people believe that I as a white mother am undeserving or incapable of raising a black daughter."
"I believe that shaming comes from people who choose to see only my white skin and her brown skin and refuse to see our hearts and love for each other," the mother of three continued, alongside a hand-written Bible verse about standing against evil.
Although Akins went on to share that she had anxiety about speaking from the heart, she said the fear was outweighed by her need to make it clear to her daughter Willa Gray "that I am HER mother who stands up not only for her, but for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin."
"I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it. I want to be her mother who doesn’t listen to the shaming of skin colors but instead listens to the Spirit of God who knitted every skin color together in their mother’s womb for His glory," she continued. "Because the truth is: I AM HER mother who FIGHTS for her. I am her mother who celebrates not only WHO she and her two sisters are, but WHOSE they are and exactly who God created them to be."
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Akins, who also shares daughters Ada James, 2, and 3-month-old Lennon Love with her husband Thomas Rhett, went on to share that not speaking up "against injustice" was against everything she stood for.
"I do believe I’m being disobedient to God if I don’t speak up against injustice and fight for change. I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my brothers and sisters. I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my daughter," she wrote, as she encouraged her followers to join her in "speaking up loudly for injustices whether or not we share the same skin color, language, beliefs...the list goes on."
"I want my children to cling to the good. Love, peace, kindness, joy. I want them to BE the good," Akins added. "Injustice is evil. It breaks the heart of God. I pray He breaks every one of our hearts over this injustice until He returns."
In his own post, the country star, 30, shared that he had also “struggled” with finding the right words.
“As the father of a black daughter and also two white daughters - I have struggled with what to say today,” he wrote. “We have navigated forms of racism directly and while there is mostly overwhelming support and love for our family, sometimes there is just the opposite. Because of that fear, it can be a lot easier to choose silence, but today I’m choosing to speak.”
“I have no clue what it feels like to be profiled by authorities, treated negatively or have my life threatened because of the color of my skin. When I witnessed the horrific murder of George and think about the mistreatment of other black men and women in America, I am heartbroken and angry,” he said. “I get scared when I think about my daughters and what kind of world they will be growing up in and how my JOB as a father is to show them how to lead with love in the face of hate. To know their worth and value as not only women but human beings.”
As his post continued, the father of three shared that he was praying “for a change of heart of those hearts who have been overcome by hatred and hardened.”
“I pray for a deeper understanding for myself and awareness of the experience of mistreatment that those of another skin color go through. I pray for the families of those who have lost their lives to violence or experienced trauma at the hand of racial oppression and injustice,” he wrote. “What can we do? I ask myself this question every day. We each have to be part of the solution and we have to continue to educate ourselves, continue to support both financially and with service those organizations doing good work in our communities to overcome injustice and hatred in our country. And if you’re like me, continue to pray.”
Concluding, Thomas Rhett added, “So if there is any question on where I stand let me be clear- I stand with you, I stand with George and his family and all those who have faced racism. I stand with my wife and my daughters. We will be fighting this fight for the rest of our lives. Rest In Peace, George. We are not letting this go.”