I've done a lot of reading, listening, and amplifying of black voices in the last few months. I always felt as though I were on the right side of history. I've taught my kids to be kind to everyone no matter our differences. But as I've read and listened and reflected I've learned that it's not enough to not be racist. We have to be anti-racist. We have to confront it head on and recognize the implicit bias in all of us.
As a parent I want to do more than teach my children to "not see color." I have learned that this is not really a way to confront racism, but it pushes the notion of racism under the carpet. Denying it's existence will not more us forward.
Like many of you, we've been having a lot of important conversations in our home. I took my children to see the confederate monuments at the heart of the protests in Richmond. We talk about how our black friends and neighbors must feel about those monuments. We talk about white privilege and what it means. We talk about how we can take a stand and be anti-racist.
Kids want to get involved and have a voice, and together we came up with a way for them and some of their neighborhood friends to get involved. We decided we would fill half of our neighborhood lending library with fiction and non fiction books about being anti-racists, and books that amplify black voices. The children and their parents donated funds and we purchased books from three local small book stores. We made sure we had a good mix of books for adults, young adults and kids.
This week the kids came together (at a social distance) in my backyard to color bookmarks that I designed. The kids were really proud of their creations. The bookmarks will be laminated this weekend and placed in the donated books and in a little container in the little lending library.
This was such an easy and positive way for the kids to be a part of the bigger movement. If you'd like to replicate our efforts in your own community you can download and print the bookmarks here.