As of this writing, my older daughter Lola is only seven and my little Zahra is only five, and I do pull them from pillar to post, as my mother did with me, in order to show them the many ways people live in this world and to instill a sense of service in them from a very early age. Though I fully expect them to do their own share of teenage complaining eventually, I hope that they ultimately feel the way I do now: eternally grateful that my mother made me take part in both politics and service, because those were the experiences that helped to shape me into the woman I am today.
Certainly the issues that were closest to my mother's heart are close to mine as well. My mother attended Mills College in Oakland, a very feminist place, so she was always concerned with the rights of women, as well as with every woman's responsibility to make the world a better place. Mom was also deeply committed to civil rights and equality for African- Americans. Living in Oakland, she had the chance to become good friends with Black Panther leaders Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, so I remember us hanging out with them and their children while I was growing up.