5 tips for white parents trying to build momentum around racial justice
by Laura Horwitz & Adelaide Lancaster of We Stories
We Stories uses the power of children’s literature to create conversation, change and hope in St. Louis, and a stronger, more equitable and inclusive future for all. We serve parents, and their children from birth to age 7, who are not yet having robust conversations about racism but would like to. Here are our top 5 tips for building momentum around racial justice among parents who haven’t been having the conversation.
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1) Silence is hard to interpret.
It’s easy to assume that silence signals disinterest or even satisfaction with the status quo. We have found that silence often indicates obstacles keeping people stuck, whether it's not knowing where to start, feeling isolated, or a lack of tools, knowledge and skills to interrupt bias. If you push past silence you may be surprised by who is willing to join the conversation.
2) Don't count people out.
Racism is a system that touches us all. It will take a whole lot of us and a whole lot of work to create real change. To do that we need more people on the journey of learning, growth and activism. Yes it's often easier to define what isn't working and what others aren't doing. Avoid getting sucked into evaluating other people's parenting practices or activism. Instead try to ground your efforts in telling your story and inviting others to join you.
3) Balance education with community.
Change requires numbers and power requires people. It’s important to not get confused about your goal. The learning journey is important and endless. Trying to master everything will keep us stuck. Build community to enhance both accountability and momentum.
4) Movement mindsets matter.
One-to-one relationship building is important and so is standing together en masse. It’s harder than it sounds but different outcomes are possible when 100s of families join together as compared to a few handfuls.
5) Wield power and yield power.
This is particularly important for white parents. There are moments that call for leveraging your sphere of influence and others that call for moving out of the way and getting behind parents of color and efforts led by people of color. Learning and practicing followership is an important competency to build.