At Arts For Life, we commit to doing our part to dismantle systemic racism by listening, learning, and leading with love.
A large part of this commitment involves educating ourselves and others about ways to talk about race, inequality, and social justice in ways that celebrate and uplift the children we care about.
Thank goodness we are not in it alone: the web is full of excellent and accessible resources for both teachers and parents, to help guide us through this important and complicated subject. Here are some of our go-tos.
The Conscious Kid is an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth. They offer straightforward, practical guides about how to talk to your kids about race and how to be an ally to Black, Indigenous, People of Color. They have comprehensive lists of children’s books for every age, and as well as definitions of key terms to increase racial literacy. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram for action-oriented content.
You probably aren’t surprised to find that this trusted source has some great resources for families. We especially loved this article about using Black art as a jumping off point for deeper conversations about race. As author Aisha White says, “The arts in general, and Black art in particular, can help children resist race-based negativity, giving them the strength, confidence and self-assurance that will help protect them from racial injustices for years to come.” White also gives several examples of Black artists to start with including Clementine Hunter, Jacob Lawrence, and Kehinde Wiley.
This site has a number of resources for both parents and teachers, including these guides for talking about racism for Black families, POC families, and white families. LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O’Brien are parents, bloggers, and teachers with many years of experience teaching in classrooms, and integrating lessons about racial justice, equity, and African American history into their curriculum.
Embrace Race organizes and creates tools, resources, discussion spaces, and networks to meet their four goals: To nurture resilience in children of color; to nurture inclusive, empathetic children of all stripes; to raise kids who think critically about racial inequity, and to support a movement of kid and adult racial justice advocates for all children
This series of lessons is designed for classroom teachers to use art to relate to community leadership and activism. You can choose any of the 12 lessons to do at home or in the hospital with your kid(s). We especially recommend lesson 6, Art and Racial Justice: What is in a Self-Portrait?, which guides you to look at self-portraits of people of color and think about the role of art in racial justice. This lesson is designed for grade levels k-5, but it’s great for everyone!