How are you honoring this month? Are you buying Black? Reading Black authors? Listening to Black artists? Using the Black-owned Shine App for your mindfulness practice? Making a donation to an org that supports Black folks (Change Today, Change Tomorrow is a great one!)?
These are just a few of the many ways to celebrate and honor #BHM. This month is not JUST for learning about the struggles of enslavement and the inequity that persists (though this is CRITICAL to understand), it is also about nurturing Black joy, celebrating Black accomplishment, and finding ways to help the children in our lives learn, appreciate and advocate.
For children - laying the groundwork is key. If your children are white - do they know it? Sound ridiculous? Maybe - but do they? It is important for white children to understand that they are white and that will help them later to understand the privileges that grants them. It helps to name that. It can be as simple as "Sara - do you see that person (in the book you are reading/or show you are watching/etc)? They have darker skin than us. People have all different colors of skin. Ours is white." Something like that and you can answer any questions or revisit more later. The next time you bring it up or they do - you can say "most people don't have white skin but we live in an area where lots of people do." This helps them to realize that being white is only one of many skin colors and not the "ideal/normal/etc" If our children (or we) see "whiteness" as the norm then we tend to see color as abnormal/bad/etc.
If your children are part of the global majority (Black, Asian, Brown, Indigenous, multi-heritage) - do they have books around them that depict characters that look like them? Do the shows they watch have lead characters with whom they can identify? One option that exists from someone right here in our community is Pop! Goes the Vet with Dr. Joya Griffin. Check it out if you haven’t yet!
Some of our favorite books that center Black characters and/or authors are:
I Am Enough
Martin’s Big Words
Born on the Water
I Like Myself
The Skin You Live In
Below are some articles and resources about addressing race with children and ideas for honoring BHM. You’ll also find some great IG accounts that I find helpful personally and also provide additional tools for teaching the children in our lives.
PBS resources for talking to children about race - this has an Arthur cartoon embedded and a read along as well as articles for parents. https://www.pbs.org/parents/talking-about-racism
Tips from EmbraceRace. I also really appreciate the work these folks do and they often have free webinars, etc. https://www.embracerace.org/resources
The Center for Racial Justice in Education has a comprehensive resource list. https://centerracialjustice.org/resources/
Parents.com article that has some good info and resources - specifically about Black History Month. https://www.parents.com/kids/responsibility/racism/how-to-celebrate-black-history-month-with-kids/
What is working for you in beginning (or continuing) these conversations with your little ones? What resources do you love?