Let Lived Experience Be The Guide

It’s hard to believe, but I have now been writing this weekly post for almost a decade! Each week,  I reflect on the progress made by our KIT team and the broader society toward making the world a more inclusive place for kids. I know that kids who are raised with inclusion will grow up to be inclusive adults. Seeing evidence of change fuels my passion.

I fell into the work of being an advocate and ally for disability inclusion in the late 1990’s after an experience that opened my eyes to the injustices faced by kids and families who experience disability. I knew that I had to be part of the solution. Over the past 20+ years, I’ve tried to maintain a beginner’s mindset. I’ve tried to stay in touch with the fact that I can’t fully understand what it feels like to have your child discriminated against, or be discriminated against yourself. Letting people with lived experience guide the way, and learning how to use my privilege as a non-disabled person has been my approach.

This week, in light of the outrage unfolding in cities across the county following the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others, I’ve been reflecting and taking action. I know my purpose is to make the world a better place for kids, and that includes fighting injustice that keeps kids from realizing their full potential. Last night Will and I walked in the Black Lives Matter march here in San Diego with 2,000 other citizens. The highlight for me was seeing all of the young families and children at the event, cheering and carrying signs. (The low point was when a young protester thanked us for being there and said, “I see that you are older than everyone else.” Ouch!)

It’s critical that we help kids understand what is taking place. We’ve had discussions around the KIT virtual watercooler about how we talk to kids and how we raise them to be anti-racist. To that end, I want to share a few resources.

Next week, some of our KIT trainers are going to host a “coffee chat” over Zoom talking about the impact of the protests on children of color in child and youth programs. We will be streaming this on Facebook Live so you can follow along. Check out our social channels to get the details when they are posted.

The Conscious Kid is an educational organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth.  They have a Patreon group here, where for a small monthly donation,  you can access parenting and education books and resources with a racial equity lens.

That Sister has a list of 37 children’s books to support conversations on race and racism.

Common Sense Media lists all of the Coretta Scott King Book Award winners here. I will be reading one of these titles in our KIT Virtual Storytime session on June 18th.

And, check out our social media post from today listing 3 resources to help you ensure all children are included and feel welcomed and represented in your class or program. You can see it here on Facebook.