Written by: Valerie Ward
Due to the events that happened in 2020, the conversation about racism was top of mind for everyone. I knew that racism still existed in the world around me, but unlike many of my friends who experienced it firsthand, I had the privilege of forgetting about it. Of course, I would say I wasn’t racist, but I never took action to be anti-racist. These conversations finally changed that for me. Doing nothing was no longer acceptable, but where should I start? How do I – as one person, with little influence – make a difference? I sat overwhelmed for many days paralyzed by how big this problem was, but then I came across this quote from Howard Zinn “we don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
If that doesn’t impower you to just do something, I don’t know what will. I started with small steps and that’s what I would like to encourage you to do. If you’ve ever wanted to make a change, start with your circle of influence – no matter how small. As a mother of two young boys, I started in my home. My goal is to raise them to be kind, bold and confident men who will love others despite their differences, speak up when they know something is wrong, and influence those around them to be better. This is a giant task – one that I might not always get right the first time, but I’ve found encouragement in Healthline Parenthood’s article Anti-Racism Resources for Parents and Kids, “This journey comes with challenges, and perfectionism is not the goal. But there’s plenty of guidance to help you while you do your best to be the change this world needs.” Friends, we are not in this alone. Here are five easy things you can do to help bring about positive change – starting in your home:
- Educate yourself by reading books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries or movies, and following influencers on social media. Just because it hasn’t been your reality, doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s. Learn about what many people of color experience every day and become an ally.
- Buy children’s books that feature a person of color as the main character or hero. Read these books often to show your kids that people of color can be kind, brave, smart, etc. Change the broken narrative before they can learn it somewhere else. Also, don’t keep these books on a shelf and just read them during the month of February.
- If you don’t have children, purchase books for a family friend with kids or a teacher to utilize in their classroom.
- Research local black-owned businesses and make it a point to support them. Again, this is showing your children that these businesses and people are worth investing in.
- Diversify your friend group. Don’t just preach to your children that they should be friends with people who are different than they are – you should model what that looks like for them.
- Have conversations with your children about racism, even at a young age. Empower them to transform the world…even if it is through small acts.