By D’Antrese McNeil

I absolutely love being a military spouse. I take pride in it. It’s allowed me to meet so many different people across the world, some who we call our family. It’s a blessing.  But even with these positives and exposure to diversity, a gap exists in the military spouse presence at functions.

It’s most noticeable at military spouse events, when it’s easy to see that there are very few minority spouses or spouses of color in attendance.

This saddens me because there is a wealth of support at these events that all spouses can benefit from. But people naturally go where they feel represented and embraced and avoid where they aren’t. This repeated pattern does not surprise many of us mochas. It seems that only a few of us ever show up.

As we continue to give minority spouses a voice in the military spouse community, military spouses from all  demographics will be more inclined to be present in these spaces and in amazing ways. That’s why a few military spouses got together and created Mocha Milspouse.

Mocha Milspouse is an online bi-monthly talk show which provides the definitive voice for military spouses of color. It was created to help bring cultural and social perspective for minority spouses who may feel underrepresented and without a common space to express their truest selves within the military spouse community. In sharing our collective experiences, my co-hosts and I strive to provide an inclusive and interactive community of support.

What Mocha Milspouse hopes to accomplish:

Create a common voice

USS John C. Stennis homecoming [Image 3 of 6] from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 DVIDSHUB, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

It’s easy to get lost in translation when you feel like no one can hear you. We want to help those thoughts, views, and concern get out there by lending our voices to the military spouse experience.

Cultivate awareness

Homecoming hugs from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 The National Guard, Flickr | GOV | via Wylio

Giving voice to our concerns in our own voices helps bring certain cultural and social perspective. We want to share our collective experiences so spouses of color feel more present and supported in the military spouse community.

Create community

Maryland National Guard from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 The National Guard, Flickr | GOV | via Wylio

We face certain and specific issues and challenges as minority spouses which other spouses don’t. Talking about it helps us bring awareness to those issues. Many military spouses are doing really amazing things. Many of these spouses are of color and our goal is to bring their accomplishments into the spotlight and celebrate them also.

So, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and listen in to our talk show celebrating all things mocha! Mocha Milspouse is targeted toward spouses of color–all color. We’re exclusively inclusive. We celebrate our military diversity and embrace it. We intend to bridge the gap in cultural awareness and strive for diverse representation within the military spouse community. We want our mochas to show up and be a part of this great movement. Let’s get involved.

Our military spouse community is full beautiful, amazing, and diverse spouses. Mocha Milspouse intends to uplift, support, educate, embrace, and highlight as many of us as we can.

Mocha Milspouse was created to help fill a need in the military spouse community. As military spouses of color, we found that we were either under represented or misrepresented at unit functions, spouse events, conferences and other events in the community designed to educate, uplift and support spouses.

The owner of D’Antrese Le’Chelle Photography, D’Antrese is a Navy wife who is also a vlogger and blogger.  She works with her grandfather’s foundation, “The Faces of Our Children,” is a graduate of Texas Southern University, and is the first military spouse in history to win the title Ms. Black Texas in 2012. She lives in Maryland with her husband, David, and their four children.