Tell us the full backstory. How did your baby end up in a math class at Morehouse?
How did it make you feel to have the professor take care of the baby in class?
Wayne: I’m very protective of Assata, however, I am at ease when she is around good people and I would put Dr. Alexander in that category. It seemed very natural for him and it was both humbling and vulnerable for me to trust him with her.
What was the baby’s response to being held by the professor?
Wayne: It was as if she had been with him before. She was enjoying herself way too much. At times I wanted to remind her that “Hey I’m your father!” Babies know good people when they see them because they don’t just let anybody hold and touch them. She felt comfortable and most of all she felt safe.
What was your intention behind sharing the photo online? How did it make you feel to see the photo go viral?
What has been best part of the response people had online as the photo began to circulate widely?
There are so many levels of care in the story. Husband for wife and for child. Professor for student, and therefore students’ child. Expand on that for us.
Wayne: Yes, this story is saturated in care. I take great pride in being a father and when her mother, Firda, was in the hospital in labor, none of our family was there. I brought my notebooks, text books, and lap top studying while trying to ease her as she went through her contractions. We married in a private ceremony with none of our family there, my Morehouse brother was our only witness. My wife and I have been through so much together and on many instances, we did it on our own. I care for her deeply and could not imagine going on this journey without her. We have been through way too much for me not to care. And as for my daughter, she is my legacy and how she carries herself in many ways is a reflection of me. I have to care for her and I have to protect her. If I fail at that then I’ve failed at life. As for the teacher, they do not get enough credit. They are over-worked and underpaid but they still go above and beyond for their students. I feel that no matter what level you teach at kindergarten or college, you have to be a nurturer and caring person to a certain degree. Dr. Nathan Alexander is all of that and much more and I am forever indebted to his kindness and must pay it forward.
As a Muslim couple, explain the values you may have inspired by your faith that formed a foundation to why this story was possible.
Firda: Islam places an emphasis on compassion, mercy, and the importance of obtaining knowledge. Raising a family is a partnership that requires both parties to have compassion and mercy on each other. Wayne knew how much I was struggling by myself to take care of Assata at home at times and he wanted to lift that burden off me by taking her to school, while still pursuing his education.