June 4, 2020
"We may have all come on different ships,
but we’re in the same boat now.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We come to you this week deeply shaken by recent events in our country. As a company we are here for all kids and all families – no matter what they look like, where they come from, what language they speak or god they pray to. We believe every human deserves to be treated with equality, dignity and respect. And we know that our responsibility to instill this in our children is among the most important jobs we have.
So, we’re going to take a break this week from our usual content to focus on providing tools and resources to use for the tough and meaningful conversations about race, racism and anti-racism we must have with our children. We want, and need, to keep this conversation going and make it a more regular part of our lives. We’d be so grateful if you would help us with that by letting us know what you’ve found useful and sharing any information you have been tapping into, too.
Karissa, Kailey, Barb and the entire iksplor family
We want to start by sharing a few thought provoking and important reads from this week, things that are helping us deepen our understanding of what we are watching all around us. Like the op-ed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote for the LA Times over the weekend. The basketball legend and author of 16 books, wrote about the protests and rebellions we’re witnessing in response to George Floyd’s murder as well as far too many other incidents of racial injustice. He puts these actions in context and delivers some hard truths, too. "Racism in America is like dust in the air,” he writes. "It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere."
This Q & A with Bryan Stevenson , a civil rights attorney whose memoir, “Just Mercy,” was recently made into a movie (and is available to stream for free here throughout the month of June) , is a powerful look at the parts of American history and culture that brought us to this chaotic, troubled moment. The article examines “the roots of police violence in both slavery and Jim Crow, how to change the culture of policing, and the frustration and despair behind this week’s protests.”
Brené Brown in conversation with Ibram X. Kendi , author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” as well as a bunch of other books, and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, is just really good. Um, it’s Brené, so, duh.
If you’ve been spending some time this week going through the many lists of recommended books about racism in America to add to your bookshelves, and have found that many are selling out, particularly on Amazon, don’t fret (we’re pretty excited to see that, actually). You can probably still get those books, you just may have to look a little further. So why not reach out to some independent bookstores instead – especially those that are black-owned ?
OK, and here is where the tricky work begins: How to talk about race, racism and anti-racism in a competent and effective way with our children – even our still very young children. Where do we begin? How do we make sure we’re explaining things in age-appropriate ways that our children won’t just remember, but, crucially, will internalize, too? Well the good folks over at NPR and Sesame Street have some ideas. In this 20-min Life Kit piece from last year they offer five concrete takeaways that can ground what need to be on-going, ever-evolving, conversations.
Here are some more resources to dig into, too:
Books to help broach the topic, broken out by age group. As well as these titles, free to download through June 19.
Tips on how to talk to your children after incidents of racial injustice and / or violence.
A guide, from other parents doing the day-to-day work, on how to actively be an anti-racist parent
An event to get the conversation started: Mark your calendars. This Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET., CNN and Sesame Street are hosting a 60-minute Town Hall for families to address racism, the protests engulfing the nation and the importance of “embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding.” Sesame Street characters like Big Bird, Elmo and more will join CNN anchors and journalists to lead the conversation.
And here are a few Sesame videos your littles might enjoy about loving your hair, your skin and all the things that make you uniquely you.