Updated: Jan 18
Dr. King made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington 58 years ago this August. It is discouraging to see how far our country still has to go when it comes to racial equity, even after decades of of civil action. Having young children, it is important to me as a mom that my kids are both aware of our community, national, and global struggles when it comes to inequitable treatment of marginalized groups and that they feel empowered to speak out when they encounter such issues themselves. I want them to grow up to be empathic and trustworthy, and to be active agents for social justice.
I also want want to ensure I am allowing them to be kids, which can be difficult during times of turmoil. It can be hard to speak with children about racism, police brutality, riots, insurrections, and the like. I want them to know the truth, but I don't want them to be frightened. Being a school psychologist I, thankfully, have a leg up on talking to kids about tough topics. I have also been blown away by the amount of resources available to help kids understand race, inclusion, and equity issues in a way that makes sense to them. I have been especially grateful for the fact that our public libraries are chock full of books that feature children and families or all different races, nationalities, and immigration statuses, and which highlight experiences of racism that I could never capture accurately.
Even when these books' topics are sad or shed light on injustices, my children surprise me with their insights and their ability to unearth the core issues. Their inherent, innocent, unadulterated sense of justice makes me optimistic that the generations who are poised to inherit society over the next few decades will do better and be better than ours have so far.
For those of you who are struggling with how to talk about race and racism with your children, here are some resources I have f
ound to be helpful:
-From the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
-From the American Library Association:
Wishing you all a wonderful Martin Luther King Jr. Day.