Thanks to Twin Cities-based author, poet, puppeteer, and playwright, Ty Chapman, for his fantastic book, Sarah Rising (Beaming), and the Author’s Notes (read them in full, here), reprinted by Beaming, for sharing this Great Idea.
White people: if you haven’t already begun, let Juneteenth be your reason to begin, continue, or persist in regular talks about racial injustice with the young people in your life. Be mindful that the color of your skin allows you the privilege of these talks being a choice. Our neighbors of color must have these talks with children on a very regular basis as a matter of survival. The more white people talk, explore, understand, grow, and engage, the less of a burden we place on our BIPOC neighbors – and the more justice we build for all people.
Ty Chapman shares a poignant story of his own upbringing and experience with personal and communal racial injustice in the Author’s Notes from Sarah Rising. At the conclusion of which he includes a list of How You Can Help, which reads (verbatim):
- Speak up for classmates who are being bullied (for their race, their gender, or any reason).
- Have difficult conversations at home about race.
- Read books by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) writers and books about their experiences.
- Ask your teachers difficult questions about race and history.
- Encourage friends and family to treat BIPOC individuals with kindness and respect.
- Make friends with people who are different from you.
- Make posters about racial equality.
- And above all else, be ready to learn! Keep an open mind about race issues and the hardships that other people experience.
Be sure to read the entire Author’s Notes (here) for encouragement to also, ‘Continue the Conversation’.
We’ve got resources for a lot of these, so if you’re not sure where to begin or how to proceed, please find – in order of relevance:
- books for all ages on Bullying and Friendship
- Anti-Racism: Children and Families resources – including books, website, curricula, and multimedia learning and conversation starters
- lists of books by Black Authors – there are many, many more throughout our lib guides
- Learn about Critical Race Theory – and Christian responses to it – from the UMC perspective here; the UCC perspective here; and the PC(USA) perspective here.
- The MN Annual Conference UMC’s Rev. Dana Neuhauser offers this list of Books That Can Build Empathy for BIPOC Communities; share books on Faith, Love, Compassion and Forgiveness; and create more emotionally aware individuals, families, and community through Mindfulness
- The church is a GREAT place for creating safe spaces where people who are different can develop friendships – so are our homes. Some previous Great Ideas might spark communal, congregational, and familial approaches to inviting and welcoming people of different identities into hospitable spaces.
- Posters made by hand are awesome and beautiful and highly encouraged. If they feel intimidating, check out Arts, Protest, & Justice for ideas!
- See our Antiracism for Adults, Children and Families, and Tweens & Teens resources and our Congregational Life: Social Justice lib guides for all sorts of ways to learn, grow, and engage in areas of racial justice – and the many, many overlapping layers of injustice that spring from it.
We are here to explore ideas for learning and engagement – and have plenty of our own work to do. The more we learn and grow together the better off our neighbors – and the world – will be!