Although each February gives us a chance to be intentional with our actions in learning about Black History, we shouldn’t stop there. We should continue month after month.
Now more than ever, we need to be seeking out activities and books to teach children about Black history. We have collected and some tips to do with your family to continue learning and building connections to the African American community.
· Educate your child about Black History
Black history is American history. As parents we can teach our children about the positive and negative aspects of our history. We need to face our past head on by learning and sharing the history, discovering their cultural impacts, and following the various movements all the way through the present.
· Read and support Black authors
One of the best ways to get kids to learn about others is through reading. Look for books about different historical events that center on Black History and from different regions to provide enough material to gain knowledge. Find books with Black characters.
Find a book your kid likes? Buy an extra one to add to your child’s classroom library.
· Try different foods
Explore your city and try different restaurants for diverse food options. Not in the budget? Look for recipes you can make at home and involve your kids. It is a healthy and fun activity that involves the whole family.
· Buy diverse toys/dolls/games
We are in a time where we are seeing the market responding to the call for cultural representation. Today there are more toys and dolls that reflect the world in which we live. Be on the lookout for dolls with different skin hues, hairstyles and body type. Buy an extra one to add to your child’s classroom play area.
Have older kids? Try the “Road to Racial Justice” board game for your next family game night. Founded by ally, activist and educator, Kesa Kivel, “Road to Racial Justice” is not your typical board game. A Los Angeles-based educator, engaged in social justice issues, Kesa developed the free “Road to Racial Justice” game over a three-year period with the help of a focus group comprised of individuals of various races and ethnicities.
After playing with my family I can see why over 2,500 game requests have been made. It’s so powerful. My children were engaged and the situation cards kept them interested in learning.”Road to Racial Justice” is an opportunity to develop an understanding of others to help breakdown some of the misconceptions we may have. It’s a way to encourage us to look beyond ourselves and take the time to think first before we act. It’s an opportunity to learn to accept others’ differences. After going through the board game situations, it’s nice to see that Ms. Kivel has added twelve new situation cards, including five anti-Semitism cards, two anti-Islamophobia cards, a multi-racial card, and others.
Download your free board game here
· Make friends
Making friends that belong to diverse cultures is a great way to learn about others. Strike up conversations at school drop off or at a local park. Making friends is one way we start to chip away at our biases and how we learn to embrace others.
· Explore /travel
Exploring your city or traveling is an effective way to learn about others. You can plan longer trips during the holidays at multiple destinations or find ways to explore your area by checking out the multiple cultural festivals that happen year-round.
· Buy Black Generational wealth, that is, acquiring assets that have been passed down generation after generation, have all but missed the African American community. When you shop with Black business owners you are helping build them up so they can invest, not only in their future and that of their children’s, but also in the community via job creation.
As an AfroLatina mom of 4, I try to infuse our culture, heritage, beauty, and strength that comes from being African American into everything I do. I’m always learning and passing on to them what I learn.
As parents, we lay the foundation for our children that will follow them into adulthood.
Developing cultural awareness in our children is not something that happens overnight. Our job is to create an environment where they are continually aware of who we share our world with they and the wonderful contributions they contribute.
With a time and work, we can keep Black history at the forefront of our lessons and encourage our children to keep learning! Join me in taking steps to help them develop respect for others by helping them learn about the African American community. May we continue to lift the African American community so our children will know the beauty and strength this Black History Month and beyond.