The Great Start Parent Coalition Learns How to Talk to their Children about Race and Racism

Faye Richardson–Green and Kathy Glynn presented at our November coalition meeting on How to talk to your children about race and racism. This virtual meeting was our largest to date with over 40 participants in attendance.

The presentation was very interactive with participants as well as informative. One participant noted that the presentation was offered with wisdom as well as providing a level of motivation to be intentional. Another participant loved how the presentation gave them the language to have this discussion with others.

The information provided was relevant to the times that we are facing now. The historical perspective provided by Faye was very insightful. Often, we like to think of slavery and the civil rights movement as being “so long ago,” or something that happened way back in the day. However, it was not long ago – slavery was from 1619-1865 and segregation was from 1865-1954, less than 100 years ago.

Faye provided historical background on many of the legal limitations placed on blacks, immigrants, Chinese, Japanese and Native Americans. One important aspect of this training is that the facilitators did not simply focus on history, although historical perspective is important and sets the stage for the future, but Kathy also lead a discussion on the current tensions that exist in society today as a result of systemic racism. Kathy also acknowledged her awareness of her own privilege and what she felt she needed to work on as well.

Participants were sent into breakout rooms to discuss the following questions: What conversations about race are you currently having in your family? Your school? What are your pain points? What are families doing to counter/address negative racial situations? The conversations in the breakout rooms were rich, including the large group session that followed. The discussion was emotional, but also eye-opening as participants shared personal examples of race and its impact in their lives and their children’s.

Highlighted during the presentation was a quote by Heather, an elementary school teacher, “Listening to kids is so important. Making sure you make time to acknowledge their questions and concerns, have an open line of communication so kids feel comfortable in the household setting talking about racial issues.”

 The presentation ended with a video reading of the book A Kid’s Book About Racism. Click on the link below to watch with your children. The video is 3.5 minutes long and was the perfect ending to such a rich and deep topic.

Additional resources on how to talk to kids about race were provided to participants after the meeting. If you are interested in receiving the resources shared with participants, please email us at gsparents@successstartsearly.org.