WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita couple said they were horrified after learning about the violent and deadly protests in Virginia on Saturday.
“To me, it’s mind-boggling to see this kind of hate,” said mom and teacher Joanna Chadwick. “To have that kind of hate directed to an entire group of people that you don’t even know, that’s distressing.”
“It was painful. You don’t want to see that. You don’t want to see that hatred because we do have to open up the conversation to our boys,” said Joanna’s husband and coach Bryan Chadwick.
The Chadwicks have been married for 17 years. They have three son’s together Blake, 14, Cooper, 12, and Gavin, 9.
“They are amazing. I love them so much. They are great kids. We have really raised them to be empowered to be whoever they want to be and whoever they can be. They have so much potential,” Joanna said.
However, Joanna said she and her family are often stereotyped because of the way they look. Joanna is white. Bryan is African-American.
“We know there are going to be people that are going to hate strictly by looking at us,” Joanna said.
“It’s our life,” Bryan said. “My boys have seen me get pulled over for driving black.”
The Chadwicks said they are often judged because of the color of their skin.
“We have had some issues where we are seated at the back of a restaurant and we have to explain to them (the boys) that we do not want that to happen to you and you have to stand up for yourself,” Bryan said.
Bryan and Joanna said their hope is people will learn from what happened in Charlottesville and stand up to racism.
“I think for too long people said this doesn’t exist, racism is a thing of the past. I think it’s very clear now it is not a thing of the past. This is not right and we must take a stand against it. That’s how we are going to see change,” Joanna said.
Despite, the judgement or hate the Chadwicks may face, they said they’re confident in who they are as a family and confident in the Wichita community.
“We feel like we are surrounded by people who love our children no matter what, no matter what they look like,” Joanna said. “I think we have been pretty fortunate. You know, Wichita, for being in the middle of Kansas, for all of the stereotypes there are, you know, this is our home.”
The Chadwicks said they often have conversations about race with their boys. They have explained to them they shouldn’t wear their pants below their waist and they also should keep their hands out of their pockets when they’re in a store.
“We are having those conversations a little bit more. It’s part of our life,” Bryan said.
“We don’t want them to fear, but we want them to be aware,” Joanna said.