Start the Conversation

Race, Racism, and Black Lives Matter

Jun 19, 2020

Race, Racism, and Black Lives Matter

In an interview with Embrace Race, child psychologist, Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, said:

“What I encourage all people to do, all grown folks responsible for taking care of kids, is to first begin with the assumption that we do have to talk about what’s going on. That not talking isn’t an option. In part because kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They’re seeing and noticing the world around them even if they’re not watching the news and they’re seeing and they’re understanding our distress and they’re going to make sense of it. So I start first with the premise of you have to talk about it.” 

         – Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith

There are a lot of big things happening in our world and talking about them with our little ones is not easy! But they are conversations that have to happen and “Starting the Conversation…” offers a place to begin.

Start the Conversation: Race, Racism, and Black Lives Matter

There are a lot of big things happening in our world and talking about them with our little ones is not easy! But they are conversations that have to happen. This video offers a place to start:

1. Acknowledge that something is happening

2. Ask your little one what they have noticed and how this makes them feel

3. Identify both of your feelings about this and name them creatively

4. These feelings are likely heavy. Figure out what can make you feel better/ regulate these feelings. (ex.physical engagement and breath)

5. Celebrate you and your little one’s power to…

– Celebrate your identity/ empower your community

– Practice empathy

– Make change

– Listen to those voices fighting to be heard

You Matter: A Conversation for BIPOC Children

Best for ages 4-8

In this video, Teaching Artist Psacoya speaks directly to her young BIPOC community and delivers the message: You Matter. Throughout the lesson, children are encouraged to reflect on some of the big things that they are noticing in our world and identify their feelings about them. This conversation explores race and racism and gives young BIPOC the opportunity to acknowledge the pain that racism causes, while also celebrating their identities. This celebration culminates in a read aloud of Christian Robinson’s book You Matter and a theatrical repetition of the phrases: I Matter. You Matter. We Matter. Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter: A Conversation for White Children

Best for ages 6-11

In this video, Teaching Artist Sam Leichter encourages young people to talk about the things that they are noticing in their world. Why are people holding signs that say Black Lives Matter and marching in the street? What is Racism? And how does it make you feel? This conversation encourages young white people to explore the idea that racism is not removed from themselves. This very big idea is explored through Anastasia Higginbotham’s book Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness and the lesson ends with a brainstorming session centered around the question: How can we as white people help to change our society?

Next Steps

Are you ready to continue this conversation?

Children learn from what is modeled by their grown-ups. How can you model anti-racism? How can you model making hard choices, using your voice to stand up for what is right, and loving yourself ? How can you  normalize making mistakes, learning from them, admitting when you’re wrong and asking for help? Journal about some of these ideas and how they might connect to race, racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

A Kids Book About Racism Read Aloud

Below is a read aloud video of Jelani Memory’s A Book About Racism where you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.

Resource Guide

This guide is designed for grown-ups to continue their education and grow their resources

Activity Guide

This guide is designed for grown-ups to share with their young people to continue the conversation and practice tools/themes shared in the video.

When a gray fog rolls over the City of Different, everything becomes the same! It’s up to The Difference Detectives to discover how to stop the gray fog before it spreads everywhere.

The Difference Detectives is an interactive activity book that challenges children to notice, ask questions, learn about, and celebrate what makes people different!

Add To Your Library

If you enjoyed the books featured in the videos, add them to your family library! By purchasing the books through our affiliate links, you’ll be supporting local bookstores and NYCCT’s work.

Start More Conversations

NYCCT’s Start the Conversation series has covered topics like race, civic duty, immigration, re-emerging from COVID-19 and more.

Future Conversations

NYCCT wants to hear from you! Is there a topic you’d like to see covered on Start the Conversation? Let us know!

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