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Wed, Oct

Mocha Moms Los Angeles provides sisterhood, support, and service

Mocha Moms Los Angeles held a children’s book reading at Ladera Park. Photos by Jason Lewis

Community

This group of Black mothers helps each other as they seek resources for their families.

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Mocha Moms Los Angeles partnered with Melanated Jump Squad for a Double Dutch jump roping event in Leimert Park.
 

By Blake Carter

Mocha Moms Inc. has created a community of mothers that support each other as they navigate the various phases of motherhood and raising children, with an emphasis on the unique experiences that Black mothers have.  Mocha Moms’s Los Angeles chapter has helped mothers locate housing, schools for their children, health care resources, and many services that are needed to support their families.

“We are a very close-knit family,” said Nichole Aliece Celistan, co-president of Mocha Moms Los Angeles Chapter.  “I joined three years ago.  I emailed the group and I said that I want to move into a Black neighborhood, and I want my daughter to go to a school that is predominantly Black.”

Within a few minutes, Celistan received several messages from group members about communities that she could move into.  She also received information about schools that would be a right fit for her daughter.  Even though she was new to the group and was unfamiliar with the members, she felt an instant bond because she was able to receive so much support from her initial email.

“It’s one of those things where I don’t know you, but you’re a Black mom, you’re a mom, you’re raising a six-year old daughter as well, we’re a community so let’s support each other,” she said.

Mocha Moms Los Angeles has a database filled with resources, which includes schools, pediatricians, after school activities, child care services, and pretty much any service that a family can use.

“The database has anything that you’re looking for in life,” Celistan said.  “If I needed somebody to paint my daughter’s room, I just went on the database, looked at the choices and the cost, and I chose a person.”

Mocha Moms Los Angeles has group members of various backgrounds.

“We have moms who are entrepreneurs, moms in military families, stay-at-home moms, moms who have children with special needs, moms whose kids that are grown and out of the house,” Celistan said.  “Whatever mother that you are, we have a pod that can facilitate anything that she needs.”

Mocha Moms Los Angeles holds monthly club meetings, typically at a club member’s home, where they discuss topics and share resources that pertain to parenting.  During the pandemic they held their meetings online through Zoom, but now they are able to meet in person and host in-person events while following COVID-19 protocols.  Some events include activities for their children and family members, such as a recent children’s book reading at Ladera Park and a recent Double Dutch jump rope event with Melanated Jump Squad in Leimert Park, while other events are geared specifically toward the mothers, such as moms’ night out events.

Mocha Moms discusses issues that impact parents of all races, but Mocha Moms looks at these issues from a Black perspective.

“Some of our conversations center around education, and the fact that we have to look at things differently than other races,” Celistan said.  “We have to think about the disparities that affect Black children.  About the implicit bias that we have to go through everyday.  We have different worries than other moms.  We talk about keeping our kids safe.  We have to have the police conversation.  Like, what happens if you get pulled over by a cop.  We know that other races don’t necessarily understand or have to go through that.  So it’s nice that we have a core group of women that we can talk to about things like that.”

There are topics and matters that are unique to Black parents, and the members of Mocha Moms.  

“We had a conversation about hair texture,” Celistan said.  “What do you put on your child’s hair?  Everybody responded with what they used.  So we’re talking to each other daily.  Whatever problem or issue that anyone has, there’s always an answer from one of our 150 or so members.”

While Mocha Moms Inc. is a Black-led organization, they are welcoming to mothers of all races.  For more information, visit www.lamochamoms.org and follow them on social media.