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  • Writer's pictureCharla Adams


My husband and I recently took a road trip with our five year old son. Anyone who has taken a lengthy road trip with their young child(ren) understand that they have to be prepared for the many questions of “Are we there yet?” and the countless times of hearing “I have to go potty.” Nevertheless, as we got closer to our destination, we sweetly heard our five year old exclaim “I have to go potty and I have to go really bad!”

My husband and I begin searching for the nearest place to pull over. We pulled into a Hasty Mart gas station in Chadbourn, North Carolina with signs that read “Clean Restrooms”. I quickly walked my five year old through the front door of the gas station and asked the clerk where the restrooms were? I quickly noticed that my son and I were the only two black people within the gas station — everyone else was Caucasian.

The clerk, a Caucasian woman probably in her late 50s or early 60s, looked up at me and my son and paused. She then stated the restrooms were “closed”. I looked at my five year old in hopes that she would re-consider. I told the clerk it’s not for me it’s for him — pointing to my five year old who is now doing the pee pee dance. The clerk was unmoved and still said “closed”. My five year old then pleaded, “But I have to go really bad…” A customer in the store, Caucasian man, shouted to my five year old “Well, you just have to go ‘round back.”

My five year old son was not allowed to use the restroom. I knew there was no time to drive anywhere else; so, I had to go outside to the back of the gas station and watch my son potty like an animal. As a mom, I was heartbroken — seeing this…living this in May 2020. Due to our society’s current state, many people are now questioning how are they going to figure out how to explain these current times to their young children? Unfortunately, as a black mother to a young black child, I do not get that option/privilege/choice to ‘figure out’ how to explain it because it is actually happening to my five year old young son. The movement for BLACK LIVES MATTER is about what is right for humanity not political parties. My five year old will always remember the moment that he was not allowed to simply use the bathroom but I pray that his children and their children will never have to face such ugliness. We are figuratively still on a long road trip that our ancestors began a long time ago and to answer our children’s questions, “No, we are still not there yet.” 🖤

To read this article at Recess Magazine:

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