The high school mum, and its lavish oversized collection of stuffed animals, glitter, and ribbons, is a Texas homecoming tradition: a massive and sometimes, purposely gaudy display of youthful exuberance and pride. But then, there’s the mum created by Kenya Brown.
“The ‘don’t’ is actually a bullet wound,” she said pointing to the red “o” in the middle of the ‘Don’t Shoot” mum she wore Thursday at Fort Worth’s Fossil Ridge High School. It’s a heart surrounded by red roses and a black funeral veil, with caution tape for ribbons and the penned in names of people of color who have had fatal encounters with police.
“We knew it was going to be controversial,” said her mom Mique Moore who is proud her daughter was allowed to wear the mum at school all for the purpose of starting and continuing a conversation.
“And I don’t want people to forget the tragedies that happen and try to move forward because we can’t move forward if we don’t talk about it,” the student said.
“I’m proud of her for that and having the courage to do that,” Mique Moore said.
Kenya says her political statement was well-received at her school. We know that because later that night, she was elected homecoming queen. Still, she knows her choice of a mum might not be popular with everyone, including police.
“It’s not that we are against law enforcement. It’s just that we have a different experience, and we do need to talk about it. That’s how it can be changed,” Mique Moore said, while admitting that her step-father is in law enforcement and that they’ve discussed the issue and the search for solutions many times before.
“If there is a problem in the world, to be silent is more deadly to not speak on it at all,” Kenya Brown said.
So, with a homecoming mum, a high school student spoke knowing that some social media backlash will likely come her way. But, in her view, at least people will keep talking.
“That’s basically the whole point of it,” she said. “It’s supposed to make you think, honestly.”
With a homecoming mum, that’s all a homecoming queen asks all of us to do.