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Anti-Racism: Reading, Writing, and Reflecting

The past two weeks have been historic, distressing and painful, but they have also been encouraging, with people mobilizing for social justice and working to learn more about racial inequality and the pervasive racism in our country. This week we offer some activities that can help encourage your kiddos to talk, think, and write about race.


Kidlit Rally for Black Lives

We attended the Kidlit Rally for Black Lives with the Brown Bookshelf which was informative and inspiring. The recording of the event and a list of resources for anti-racist education and parenting can be found on the Brown Bookshelf website: https://thebrownbookshelf.com/2020/06/04/kidlit-rally-4-black-lives-anti-racist-resources-for-children-families-and-educators/?fbclid=IwAR38UsdRqc9MUQIy7-O44opmqspIwLNlP31Gj5xDwdXCKpQFooyjzhbto2o

Ask your kiddos to watch the Kidlit Rally and write about their favorite presenter. Why did they like this speaker the best? What did the speaker say that resonated with them? How did this change the way they think about something?

Poetry/Music

When I was teaching at Georgia Tech, Maya Angelou came to campus to give a reading. I offered my students extra credit to attend and every single one of them who attended was completely blown away by her reading and her work. Ask your kiddos to read and/or listen to Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” There are many videos available of her reading on youtube, but here is one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqOqo50LSZ0

Next, ask your kiddos to listen to Ben Harper’s musical adaptation of Angelou’s poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vgzdkZe4ig

Kiddos can write a response comparing the two versions and describing which one they like more and why. As an extension, encourage them to adapt a poem to music, or write a poem of their own based on Angelou’s poem.

Reading Response

A few weeks ago in FLOW’s book club we discussed Jerry Craft’s New Kid. As part of the discussion the kiddos learned what microaggressions and code switching are by analyzing numerous examples in the book. You can explain to your kiddos that code switching happens when people move between different cultural and linguistic spaces. Often this is subtle, and kids do it all of the time as they move between school, hanging out with their friends, and being with their families. Though this will help the kids understand the concept, it is important to recognize that the code switching many of us participate in is not the same as the type that our systems of oppression require of black people and people of color. Try to set up a space to discuss why these are different. Microaggressions are subtle, automatic, verbal and non-verbal interactions that are put downs of people from marginalized groups. For example, in New Kid, there is a teacher who continuously mixes up the names of the black students. Ask your kiddos how we can challenge microaggressions when we hear them, and how we can be more reflective about our implicit bias. How can we address the mistakes we make? Next, ask your kiddo to read one of the books recommended on one of the many diverse book lists circulating or use this list: http://hereweeread.com/2017/11/2018-ultimate-list-diverse-childrens-books.html?fbclid=IwAR2Cg2gJ2ro5nf9Kgq2hbivgTFIcXPFxYEH7rZfH6IzI-VqaVgQA1Z6N2Co

Ask your kiddos to identify microaggressions or code switching in the book and write about what these things mean in the book and why it is important to be aware of these moments in books and everyday life.

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