By Hailey Almsted
When Woodbury resident Monica Jones did a #ShareTheMic takeover, an initiative aimed at amplifying Black voices through partnerships with local celebrities and brands, she discovered her passion for sharing her story, and wanted to create a space for other Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) mothers in the community that need their voices to be heard—thus creating Melanated Mamas.
“It was a unique experience, I had never done anything like that,” Jones says. “It was … very insightful.”
During the takeover, Jones talked about her childhood and moving to Minnesota. “It was a time when things were not so Minnesota nice,” she says. After moving to Woodbury in the eighth grade, she says it was challenging to find herself being one of the few Black persons at high school.
“Talking about that story brought up a lot of old wounds that weren’t 100 percent healed,” Jones says. “I was fortunate and lucky to be able to tell my story, but I want a space where our stories are told—our injustices, issues and concerns that are so important to talk about—but also our joy and our love can be amplified.”
Melanated Mamas is “a space to amplify the unseen joy in Black and Brown mothers and champions BIPOC moms to be seen, heard and empowered through storytelling, imagery and connection,” Jones says. Though Melanated Mamas is still in the beginning stages, Jones hopes the group will give BIPOC moms a safe space through conversations, positive stories and virtual summits—the first of which will be happening on Sept. 17 and will address how work from home moms can care for themselves. Jones has set up an online fundraiser through GoFundMe, where she’s raised just over $3,000 of her $10,000 goal. “[The funds] are going towards building that digital space—the website, legal fees, branding, things like that,” she says. However, the bigger part of funding will go towards compensating contributors.
“We’ve seen a lot of uptick, especially over the summer, with amplifying Black voices, and that’s amazing and important,” she says. “But the compensation of the conversations and the knowledge and information we are sharing needs to be there … If I’m creating a space for BIPOC moms, I want to be able to compensate them for their stories and contributions to the community.”
“I’m very passionate about this project and excited to develop this community,” Jones says. “The community piece is important, and I’m excited to see it grow, flourish and develop.”
Jones is also a blogger at By Monica Jones, where she shares her stories of motherhood, self-care and more. “I fell in love with sharing my experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly, and all the in-between about motherhood,” she says. Overtime, her blog transformed into the She Is You podcast, where millennial moms are championed in their motherhood, work and family journeys.
“It takes a village to raise children and it takes a community to raise moms,” Jones says. “It’s super important … to make sure that communication is strong, and people feel safe when they’re in this space.”