Story by Kacie Frederick. Photos provided by Not My Son.
Not My Son is a non-profit organization focused on its three pillars of Community Outreach, Social Activism, and Civic Engagement. What started as an organization to create space for safe protests has now steamrolled into community outreach resources that primarily serve the South Dallas area. When Not My Son began, Tramonica was amazed by how many moms would create barricades between the police and kids who were protesting–even kids who weren’t necessarily their own.
“It created a powerful picture,” shares Tramonica, reflecting on Not My Son’s engagement in Black Lives Matter protests. “It was the females stepping in front of our babies, no matter the race. It became important for us to do our part and protect all of our children. I think we, the other mommas and I, woke up and said, ‘Enough is enough.’”
Since June 2020, Not My Son has organized over ten protests for social justice, fed over 3,500 Dallas residents, and served over 700 students with school supplies through their back-to-school drives. Recently, this past Christmas, Not My Son provided 92 kids with Christmas gifts and toys. Not My Son also provides voter registration education to districts 5, 7, and 8 in South Dallas. Here, Tramonica shares how Not My Son is able to combat systemic racism through the power of voting in local elections.
Tramonica is grateful for her entirely volunteer-based staff, as they share in her vision and passion for turning Dallas into a better place. What makes Not My Son so special is its primary mission of building community, and to do so, Tramonica highlighted the importance of keeping volunteer activities fun. Not My Son is an organization that commends itself for treating everyone in the community like family.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will feel overworked, undervalued, and you will not be compensated,” Tramonica shares on staying motivated. “But that one percent is so impactful. Because they see the good work that you’re doing and they understand your values. I keep doing what I do for that one percent.”
Not My Son is a strictly individual donor-based organization, so funding is a significant challenge. Additionally, while Not My Son maintains the magic of helping others through their community outreach, the organization also recognizes the serious matter that called them to action in the first place: police brutality. Tramonica admits it can be hard to balance, so mental health is crucial to the volunteers of Not My Son.
“I don’t know where I came from. My ancestors were brought somewhere with no receipt or return address,” shares Tramonica. “This is why Black History Month means everything. It shows no end to what you can do as a Black person. We have created things, dominated in different areas, and shaped America’s culture. This is why it is not African American History. No, it’s Black History.”
Tramonica and her volunteer team have definitely dominated Dallas, changing its culture and legislature one vote, one protest, and one community program at a time. Not My Son’s end goal is to one day put themselves out of business and no longer have a need to serve. Tramonica envisions a Dallas in which there is no longer a need to have back-to-school drives or homeless mouths to feed, because the Dallas she believes in is both equal and equitable.
Not My Son is a non-profit organization that cultivates community through civic engagement and social activism. For more information, please visit https://www.notmysondallas.org. To donate or sponsor Not My Son, please visit https://www.notmysondallas.org/donate.