The Earliest Days: Young Shawn and young Ruha. Ruha was born in India, where her mother is from. She and he rmother moved to LA (her father's native) when she was 3. Shawn was born and raised in St. Croix.
Truitt and Behin White, Ruha's parents, had a whirlwind romance of their own. They married after a month of knowing each other and remained married for almost 40 years.
Ruha on being a mother: "Motherhood has allowed me to detach from what seems important and focus on what really is important."
The little Benjamin brothers, Malachi and Khalil, rockin' roots swag.
The Benjamin Family.
One of Ruha's goals as a parent is "not to indulge my sons, but to teach them to grow from circumstances characterized by difficulty."
As religion is a hot-button topic in the Benjamin household, Ruha and Shawn have decided to let their sons choose their spiritual paths for themselves when they're ready.
Our sons: "Malachi, 12, our first-born, is studious and focused," Shawn says. Ruha adds that Khalil, 10, is the creative spirit. "In a heartbeat, he'll write a song or a poem. He's enlivened by people and music and dancing."
Benjamin bonding. Shawn treasures quality time with his sons. Here, they get their soccer on.
Ruha Benjamin is the author of People's Science
, a book examining stem cell research and the involuntary involvement of people based on race, gender, social class and/or circumstance.
"Malachi is the type of kid who thrives with structure and he loves deadlines," Shawn says. "He writes himself sticky notes to remember things."
NYC: The Benjamin couple. "As a husband, I would hope that Ruha would say that I was loving and loyal. That is what I try to be on a daily basis."
For 16 years, the Benjamins have cultivated a relationship based on respecting each other's growth and shedding unfair expectation. Shawn says, "Marriage has taught me to compromise and I'm a better listener."
The academic goddess. Ruha had her first child, Malachi, a week before graduating from Spelman. She gave birth to Khalil two years later, while she was a grad student at the University of Berkeley, California.