Engage Your Family: Talking Race, Racism, & Anti-Racism With Youth K-12
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:
TOOLS: Talking about race – Smithsonian
WATCH: Talking to kids about racism [1 hour 16 min] – Dr. Kira Banks
PODCAST: Raising Equity
Baby in the family? Check out this new board book, Antiracist Baby.
WATCH: Elmo and his dad Louie talk about racism and why people protest [2 min] – CNN Sesame Street Town Hall
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
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
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.
See what some passionate youth have been up to the past few weeks:
- Six Teen Girls Organized a 10,000 person Black Lives Matter Protest in Nashville
- Why was Fresno’s protest a success? Because it was led by young black people, organizers say
- 16-Year-Old Organized Peaceful Protest in Norman, OK
- Three Black Youth Activists on Organizing, Protesting, and the Change They Hope to See
- In Their Own Words: Students Share Lessons Learned From Protesting and Organizing
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.