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VIRTUAL - Grandmothering While Black with Dr. LaShawnDa Pittman

Monday, May 20, 2024
8:00 pm9:00 pm
Online Discussion

Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival 

More grandparents are currently raising their grandchildren than at any other time in American history, with nearly 30 percent of U.S. children living with their grandparents at some point. When compared to other racial and ethnic groups, the number of Black children being raised by their grandparents is far higher than other groups. One in ten Black children will live in skipped-generation households or so-called Grandfamilies– households that consist of only grandparents and grandchildren– at some point.

Sociologist LaShawnDa Pittman, Ph.D., explores this topic – skipped generation households in the Black community – in her timely new book Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews with more than 70 Black grandmothers raising their grandchildren, Dr. Pittman’s book increases awareness and understanding of the myriad legal, economic, and relational intricacies Black grandmothers must grapple with when raising their grandchildren in the twenty-first century. By doing so, it challenges the limited belief among Black (and other) communities, policymakers, practitioners, and academia that contemporary grandparent caregiving is merely the continuation of a historic tradition in the Black community. During this talk, Dr. Pittman will discuss how Black grandparents haven’t “always” experienced caregiving in its current iteration. 

About LaShawnDa
Dr. LaShawnDa Pittman is Associate Professor in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. She is the Joff Hanauer Honors Professor in Western Civilization and has an appointment in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Pittman’s book Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First Century Story of Love, Coercion and Survival explores the complex lives of Black grandmothers raising their grandchildren in skipped-generation households.

Dr. Pittman’s scholarship has been published in many prominent journals and edited volumes, including Health Equity, The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, Social Science and Medicine, City and Community, Women, Gender, and Families of Color, and Relational Poverty Politics!. Her research on grandparent caregiving has been featured in numerous media outlets, including USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, PBS's “To the Contrary,” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Generations United, and the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging. Several institutions have funded Dr. Pittman’s work, including the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Northwestern University, Hiram College, and the University of Washington. She is the founder and director of the black digital humanities project—Real Black Grandmothers.

Dr. Pittman is a certified yoga and mindfulness meditation teacher and teaches mindfulness meditation classes to kinship caregivers (and others). In 2022, she was inducted into the Mind and Life Institute Fellow Program where she will “engage and collaborate with a global network of influential leaders committed to contemplative scholarship and practice.”