A better world starts with the values we pass on to our kids ♥
June 5, 2020
To our community,
I've spent the past week reflecting, listening, and reading on recent events and thinking about the year so far. It has been a difficult few months and weeks for our country, especially for black Americans.
The black community has withstood disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection, job loss, and very public violent deaths, which sadly is not something new, and is emblematic of the institutional racism that is alive and well in our country. It's a lot to take in, and as I do, I hold my children tighter and think, what can we do better as a small business and as a family to make sustainable changes?
One of the biggest takeaways for me this week is that this change must come from the inside out, and for me that starts at home. I began by thinking about the everyday things, because we all know our children are always watching, always listening!
What do we talk about around the dinner table, what books and magazines are lying around the house, who do we invite over for a family BBQ, who are our children's friends, who are our friends, what is the culture like at their school, what do they see us doing, what sort of toys and books do they interact with everyday? Because at the end of the day our actions inside and out of the house really make the biggest impact on our children.
And how do we work to confront racial bias at home? Having the conversation is obviously an important place to start, but we can't just have isolated conversations about race and carry on. It must be normalized in our day-to-day. What does it look like to 'normalize'?
One place to start is with books, and not just ones specifically about social justice. While these are essential, it is also important to incorporate books that have central characters of color, just kids being kids doing everyday things.
A few of our favorites at home are I Had a Favorite Dress (I also love this book because it focuses on sustainability and repurposing what we already have). Another favorite is Ada Twist, Scientist — this whole series of books by Andrea Beaty is inspiring and I love the beautiful illustrations. A newer title to the shop is Everyone's Awake, written by the lead singer of The Decemberists, Colin Meloy, and illustrated by Shawn Harris (also an SF local!), a cleverly rhymed picture book about a family and their silly bedtime routine. Reading Beauty is a fairytale retelling with a brave female character; it's funny, and has a heartwarming happy ending.
For our littlest readers, some of my favorites are illustrated by Sarah Gillingham: I Am So Brave, I Know A Lot, and Love is a Truck. And the non-fiction series Little People Big Dreams focuses on telling historically accurate accounts of the lives of important figures in U.S history, like MLK, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks. We have more relevant titles arriving in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
Lastly, I would love to hear from you. What ways are you working to confront racial bias in your home and community? And, if you have any suggestions for brands you love, please let me know! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe, but never silent.