Artist Nikkolas Smith via Instagram

We know you agree: young people are amazing. We believe they shape the world (no matter their age) and it’s our job to be with them on a journey to self-discovery and lift their voice.

How do we do that?

The first step is to engage them in difficult conversations and be willing to learn with them. Our communities, our country, and the world are engaged in a pivotal moment in history – crying out for deep change around systemic racism and injustice.

Let’s lean in with the young people closest to us. Let’s look, think, read, listen, learn, talk with one another. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

PARENTS/GUARDIANS

TOOLS: Talking about race – Smithsonian

WATCH: Talking to kids about racism [1 hour 16 min] – Dr. Kira Banks

PODCAST: Raising Equity

FOLLOW: Dr. Kira Banks on Facebook, The Conscious Kid on Instagram or Patreon

Baby in the family? Check out this new board book, Antiracist Baby.

ELEMENTARY (K-5)

WATCH: Elmo and his dad Louie talk about racism and why people protest [2 min] – CNN Sesame Street Town Hall

WATCH: Our Family [7 min] – Not in Our Town (includes a Film Lesson Guide)

READ: List of Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk about Race, or a Camp Fire staff favorite: Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins

PODCAST: The Alphabet Rockers

MIDDLE SCHOOL

WATCH: Kids talk to Hoda Kotb about the worldwide protests and their experiences with racism [5 min] – TODAY on NBC

WATCH: Systemic Racism Explained [4 min animation] – Act.tv

LISTEN: Young adult author Jason Reynolds talk about racism and the protests – The Koja Nnamdi Show

READ: STAMPED: Racism, Anti-racism, and You by Ibram X. Bendi and Jason Reynolds, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Woods, Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia, We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden, and a compilation of poems, letters, essays and art: We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade & Cheryl Willis Hudson

GRAPHIC NOVELS: March Part 1, March Part 2, March Part 3 by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

HIGH SCHOOL

WATCH: So Much to Do [30 min] – Vlogbrother Hank Green talks with Maya Rupert, writer, activist, and policy strategist (and former campaign manager for Julian Castro)

WATCH: Audrie & Daisy – Netflix

WATCH: 13th – Netflix

READ: STAMPED: Racism, Anti-racism, and You by Ibram X. Bendi and Jason Reynolds (see other awesome books also listed above under “middle school”)

PODCAST: Brene Brown – Unlocking Us: How to Be an Anti-Racist with Ibram X. Bendi

TIKTOK: Discover videos in #blacklivesmatter (8.3 Billion views), and listen to some excerpts from the UN Civil Rights Commission letter, the song All Hands On Deck, quick “how to reply” to common arguments, a compilation of peaceful protests, and a mashup song inspired by BLM/the national anthem 

BACK TO YOUTH VOICE!

The second way you can help lift their voice is by asking to hear what they think. It starts by giving them your attention and really listening.

Ask questions like:

  • What did you think? 
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What stood out to you?

Share your perspective too. Model listening, asking great questions, and curiosity. Talk about what other actions you might take (apart or together).

It’s not about agreeing, it’s about learning. Embrace different perspectives.

Lastly, does the young person in your life want to take action, or use their voice? Figure out what that means to them and how you can support them. There are many ways to be a part of change. Explore together or help guide and connect them on their path.

GET INSPIRED

See what some passionate youth have been up to the past few weeks:

Want to do a deeper dive? You’re not alone! See how educators are tackling tough conversations about race and violence (virtually!) or check out Schools Out Washington’s robust resource page.

Do you have a resource you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.