Gathering these resources is a collaborative effort by dedicated staff members on the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Taskforce at Kids & Families Together. The purpose in sharing this information and research is to ensure everyone feels welcome. We are making ongoing and intentional efforts to ensure that this work is at the forefront of all we do here at Kids & Families Together. In sharing these resources, our hope is that we will cultivate and create an equitable and inclusive space for all staff, clients and families we love and serve.
As imagined by Kids & Families Together’s JEDI Task Force: Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
This principle is about understanding each individual and what value they are expecting to gain from the provided service as well as understanding their experience.
START WHERE YOU ARE
This principle dictates being objective, acceptance without judgment and recognizing what current successful systems can be kept when initiating a change; meeting them where they are in their process of change.
CHECK-IN WITH FEEDBACK
This principle encourages working in smaller, more manageable steps to maintain focus on each effort.
PROMOTE RESPECT & VISABILITY
This principle requires communication between all parties so that each individual can feel that their requirements and needs, are being acknowledged. This includes communication between community partners so that there is respect, transparency, visibility and a sense of urgency to the services required.
KEEP IT SIMPLE & PRACTICAL
This principle is applied by ensuring that every process and resource brings value to the overall goal. It promotes the philosophy of keeping things simple so that things can be done effectively with less conflict and more collaboration.
Put simply, authenticity means you’re true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you’re under to act otherwise. You’re honest with yourself and with others, and you take responsibility for your mistakes. Your values, ideals, and actions align.
Please select a category to view information:
Here are some common terms/labels with definitions and information for which may be the best choice to use;
The choice to use “BIPOC” reflects the desire to illuminate specific injustices affecting Black and Indigenous people.” (1)
These are both labels that would only be used in a general or broad context. If the group you are referring to includes Black and Indigenous people then BIPOC is preferred over POC.
Note – whenever it is possible the best option is to specify each group individually. While generally accepted, BIPOC or POC is still a short cut and should only be used if necessary.
Black or African American
“Many people in the United States consider the term “African American” the more polite and correct choice, but this isn’t always accurate; some Black people may not be American, while others may not trace their ancestry to Africa”. (1)
Black or Black culture is generally a unique experience to people who are the descendants of people who were enslaved. They often do not have the same access to information about their ancestors and cultural traditions due to the impact of their culture and identity being stripped away or withheld.
“As someone who grew up with a much stronger sense of my black American roots, and an understanding of African culture distilled primarily through an American sensibility, I feel as though the term African-American doesn’t quite suit my identity.”
“Having to explain what I am—an American with American parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents—emphasized the gulf between the Kenyan understanding of race and my own. For the Kenyans I interacted with, having black skin also means being African. For me, being black means, well, being black.” (2)
Reminder – dropping person, family or culture from these terms as in “the blacks” is generally considered dehumanizing and should not be used.
Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian
Here is an article excerpt and link to read more about individual perspectives.
“Each time we choose to elect our own names and references we are empowered. This discussion does not argue that the term ‘Indian’ is better, or that ‘indigenous’ is, or to invalidate being an American or not to be; it is about choice; what we choose as well as how and why we used these names.” https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/blackhorse-do-you-prefer-native-american-or-american-indian-kHWRPJqIGU6X3FTVdMi9EQ
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Chicano/a
“When I first moved to the United States I lived in Michigan; as a new immigrant who didn’t know much about the different labels and how controversial they can be since many people have strong feelings about being called one or the other, I just identified myself as Dominican. This is really common for new immigrants from Latin America as we are used to define our identity based on our nationality.
As time passed and I became more culturally assimilated, the term Latina felt right because coming from Latin America, I also identify as a latinoamericana.” (5)
“I was part of the group of people who contributed to popularizing the term,” said artist Harry Gamboa, a California Institute of the Arts professor who was an organizer of the blowouts. “The notion of the Chicano at the beginning implicated that we were very much American. But it also refers to a population that has been here for thousands of years.” (6)
“Nowadays, Chicanismo is mostly about ethnic pride, cultural expression and the defense of immigrants.
Professor June Pedraza, chair of the National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies, says Mexican-Americans in their teens are showing up at her classes at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio eager to study the roots of the Chicano movement. “There is more of a demand for it now,” she said.” (6)
So, how do I know which one to use or if I should even ask?
First, we hope that the definitions make it easier to know which term is likely the choice for a particular setting, but the best way to be sure is to ask. Often when talking in small groups it will be appropriate to be more specific and reflect the people who are in the group. If you are unsure about whether to ask about how someone identifies, think about why you are asking? Being curious about someone’s identity is perfectly fine, but how and when you ask it has an impact on people. Why do you need to know this information in this particular moment? Asking yourself why you’re doing it before questioning someone about their background may help you understand your motives. If their identity is relevant to the conversation, or perhaps you’re at the point in your relationship where the question is appropriate, then it’s fine. If these conversations are starting from a genuine place, your love and understanding should come across.
National Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Awareness Day
MMIW = Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women also Missing and Murdered Native/Indigenous Women and Girls. This day was created to bring attention to the high incidence and under-reporting of Indigenous women and girls who go missing.Read More
“A National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls provides a process for public healing and accountability for this crisis, and honoring those who have been abducted, gone missing, or been murdered. It is essential on the broadest level to acknowledge the historic and ongoing human suffering and death that U.S. colonization has ravaged upon Native women.”
“A National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls will:
Body Positivity - How does this fit in with diversity and inclusion?
“Body positivity originates from the fat acceptance movement from the 1960s,” says Chelsea Kronengold, the manager of communications at the National Eating Disorders Association. “The body positive movement was created by and for people in marginalized bodies, particularly fat, Black, queer, and disabled bodies.” This movement was rooted in social justice; it birthed organizations like The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a non-profit fat rights organization that fought and continues to fight against societal anti-fat bias, fatphobia, and systemic fat oppression.Read More
We want folks of all shapes and sizes to know they are valued, to feel comfortable and included. Body shaming and discrimination against people who do not conform to conventional body standards are common issues in U.S. culture but are not often included in diversity initiatives as stated in an article by Jessica Richman, "As a fat woman, I represent a population that has not yet been recognized in diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives that continue to make headlines." (4) To learn more, click here.
“Additionally, there exist inequities in access to fresh and a wider variety of food, particularly in urban or remote areas that may have food deserts, that affect under-resourced individuals from lower income groups, people with health issues, and people from cultures and religions that are considered different that the mainstream.” (5) To learn more, click here.
What is a weight neutral space?
A weight neutral space "includes no diet or weight loss talk, no negative body talk, no fashion magazines, no recommendations of weight loss as a cure for physical health issues or for stigma, etc. These are all important things that are critical in creating spaces that don’t perpetuate oppression or eating disorders." To learn more, click here.Read More
"Dieting and body image talk are triggering for people who have had or who have an eating disorder – they may trigger a relapse into eating and/or weight and shape preoccupations and behaviours such as binge eating, fasting or purging," says Professor Phillipa Hay, foundation chair of mental health at Western Sydney University." To learn more, click here.
Harlem Renaissance, 1918-Mid 1930's
The Harlem Renaissance encompassed poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, jazz and swing, opera and dance. What united these diverse art forms was their realistic presentation of what it meant to be black in America, what writer Langston Hughes called an “expression of our individual dark-skinned selves,” as well as a new militancy in asserting their civil and political rights. Read more here.
Black History Month
Origins of Black History Month- “Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson is credited with creating Black History Month. According to Daryl Michael Scott, a history professor at Howard University, Woodson got the idea in 1915 after attending a celebration in Illinois for the 50th anniversary of the 13th Amendment.Read More
The festivities honoring the proclamation lasted for three weeks, with various exhibits depicting events in African American culture. In 1915, after seeing this display, Woodson decided to form what is now named the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH), in order to encourage the study of the accomplishments made by Black Americans.” (Follow the links below to learn more)
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is one of the most famous examples of unethical research. The study, funded by the federal government from 1932-1972, looked at the effects of untreated syphilis. In order to do this, a number of Black men in Alabama who had syphilis were misinformed about their illness. They were told they had “bad blood” (which was sometimes a euphemism for syphilis, though not always) and that the government was offering special free treatments for the condition.
“A lingering mistrust of the medical system makes some Black Americans more hesitant to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. It has played out in early data that show a stark disparity in whom is getting shots in this country — more than 60% going to white people, and less than 6% to African Americans. The mistrust is rooted in history, including the infamous U.S. study of syphilis that left Black men in Tuskegee, Ala., to suffer from the disease.” https://www.npr.org/2021/02/16/967011614/in-tuskegee-painful-history-shadows-efforts-to-vaccinate-african-americansRead More
Health Disparities - “Health disparities are differences in health that are tied to economic, social or environmental disadvantages. The inequities that fuel these disparities include differences in access to health care (SN: 4/23/19) and exposure to pollution (SN: 7/30/20) and the health effects of racism (SN: 8/6/19). “ https://www.sciencenews.org/article/black-newborn-baby-survival-doctor-race-mortality-rate-disparity
Minority Stress - Recognizing the impact of “minority stress” on both physical and mental health – Article has some excellent clinical considerations. https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2021/02/16/minority-stress-depression-chase-m-t-anderson
Mind the Gap – a book by Malone Mukwende. “He is a 20-year-old medical student, who found himself repeatedly asking the same question: “But what will it look like on darker skin?” He’s publishing a book to answer that question.
Since his first class at St George’s, University of London, “I noticed a lack of teaching about darker skin tones, and how certain symptoms appear differently in those who aren’t white,” said Mukwende, who recently completed his second year of study in the medical program.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/07/22/malone-mukwende-medical-handbook/
There are so many Black scientists, inventors etc., who have had an impact on our history and many more who are still making history. A single month is not enough time to share all the amazing people we want to share. Hopefully we can be part of a cultural shift towards more inclusion both in historical reporting of events but also in creating spaces that truly encourage people to keep exploring and joining the scientific fields. The more that young kids see people who look like them in science and medicine, the more they will aspire to these same fields.Read More
To learn about the Kathrine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson the women who inspired Hidden Figures follow the links below. https://www.nasa.gov/content/dorothy-vaughan-biography
“Ten Black scientists that science teachers should know about.” https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/ten-black-scientists-that-science-teachers-should-know-about-and-free-resources
To close here is a fun and energetic Tik Tokker sharing animal facts! Jaida Elcock, who is also a co-founder of MISS – “an organization dedicated to encouraging women of color to pursue a career in shark sciences”
Tik Tok – @sofishtication
Twitter - Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) @MISS_Elasmo https://www.sharks4kids.com/post/meet-graduate-student-jaida-elcock
By now, the bare-bones story of the Chicano Movement is well known: Brave, determined men like César Chavez and Sal Castro in California 50 years ago pushed society to recognize the civil rights of Latinos and opened new opportunities in politics and education. A new book, however, demonstrates that El Movimiento was much more diverse and dynamic than the casual history recounts. “Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era” (The University of Arizona Press, 2021), edited by UC Santa Barbara scholars Mario T. García(link is external) and Ellen McCracken(link is external), brings a fresh depth and inclusionary take on the decades-long struggle. To read more, click here.Read More
Huelga! (Strike!) Photographs from the Frontlines
In the latest MVC Insider, Chief Curator of Exhibits and Collections Anna Bermudez took viewers inside Huelga! Photographs from the Frontlines at the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula. While many of you may have explored the virtual version of Huelga! at the Ventura Museum, most have not seen this companion exhibit that touches on fascinating history involving Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Egg City, and more.
Sí, se puede
"Sí, se puede" (Spanish for "Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "Yes, we can") pronounced [ˈsi se ˈpwe.ðe]) is the motto of the United Farm Workers of America, and has since been taken up by other activist groups. In 1972, during César Chávez's 25-day fast in Phoenix, Arizona, UFW's co-founder, Dolores Huerta, came up with the slogan. To read more, click here.
Stonewall Riots, June 1969
The Stonewall Inn, a tavern in Greenwich Village NYC, was known as a safe space for the LGBT community, however in June 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn. The LGBT community responded with six days of riots and uprising. One year later, in June 1970, the very first Pride march occurred in NYC.Read More
From Response For Teens JCFS Chicago; “While the events that sparked the fight for LGBTQ+ liberation as we know it today get some attention, we often forget that the movement was led by trans women of color and Black lesbians. The following four women of color were key leaders in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. These women cared for their community and fought for all LGBTQ+ people to have the freedom to live as they are. Because of transphobia and anti-Blackness, these women often faced even more discrimination as they fought. So… let us not forget that the struggle continues. These women are heroes. Their bravery and absolute refusal to accept anything less than liberation sparked a movement that needs to remember who led the charge. All Black lives matter.” Follow the link if you’d like to learn who these four women are.
Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.Read More
It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
African American Music Appreciation Month
Since 1979, the United States has set aside the month of June to appreciate the musical contributions of its African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters.
Inspired to celebrate an enduring art form, Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams pursued creating Black Music Month. Their efforts were backed up by generations of artists whose talents and skill built a foundation of musical ingenuity in America.Read More
Historically rooted in rich African traditions and the conflicted slave trade, black folk music provided the soil for jazz to grow. Other sounds began to join the chorus. From rhythm and blues to barbershop and swing, the artists responded to every era with a fresh wave of inspiration and visionary sound.
The music breaks barriers and moves people. It inspires generation after generation of artists and music lovers.
In this video, Dyana Williams, who is often referred to as the mother of Black Music Month, discusses the birth of Black Music Month and the high level of music activism that lead to the legislation to declare June Black Music Month.
As President Biden shared in his Proclamation on Black Music Appreciation Month “Music has the power to lift our spirits, comfort our souls, and inspire our hearts. It gives a voice to the human spirit, creating a common language that unites people and breaks down barriers. Perhaps no music has had as profound and powerful an impact in shaping America’s musical score as Black music. Intricately woven into the tapestry of our Nation, Black music enriches our lives and pushes the boundaries of creativity. Throughout the decades and across the country, Black music has fueled a myriad of genres — from rhythm and blues to jazz, gospel, country, rap and more. This month, we celebrate the extraordinary legacy of Black music on American culture and recognize the indelible impact it continues to have on the world.”
How Can You Observe African-American Music Appreciation Month?
The answer to this question is easy! You can immerse yourself in the music of your favorite black musicians! These talented black musicians span throughout all genres and generations. Listed below are songs from several corners of the black music world:
Sacred Music includes spiritual and gospel music and illustrates the central role that music plays in African American spiritual and religious life.
Folk Music links back to African cultural traditions. Stemming from field hillers, work chants and game songs, folk music bursts with social commentary.
The Blues form the foundation of contemporary American music. As did sacred and folk music, the blues also greatly influenced the cultural and social lives of African Americans.
African American Military Music has roots that date back to the Revolutionary War and Civil War. African Americans served in fife and drum corps. Musicians that played in military bands during World War I and World War II often incorporated modern musical styles, such as jazz, into their song selections.
Jazz evolved from ragtime, an American style of syncopated instrumental music. Jazz first materialized in New Orleans and is often distinguished by African American musical innovation.
Rhythm and Blues (R&B) is the predecessor to soul music and has a stylistically diverse genre with roots in jazz, blues and gospel music. R&B helped spread African American culture and popularized the idea of racial integration on the airwaves and in white society.
Rock ‘n’ Roll music incorporates elements from all African American music genres and combines them with American pop and country music components. The genre was born in the 1950s and appealed to the rebellious yearnings of American youth culture.
Hip-Hop and Rap are musical traditions firmly embedded in African American culture. Like jazz, hip-hop has become a global phenomenon and has exerted a driving force on the development of mass media.
American dancer, Choreographer, and founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance TheaterRead More
Cesar Chavez, American Civil Rights Leader, March 31, 1927 - April 23, 1993
A true American hero, Cesar Chavez was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a genuinely religious and spiritual figure; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights. To read more, click here.
Amanda Gorman, Wordsmith. Change-maker. National Youth Poet LaureateRead More
Nia Dennis, UCLA Gymnast
Nia Dennis is a decorated and accomplished collegiate gymnast and is a senior on the UCLA gymnastics team. For the 2021 season, Nia debuted her floor routine, which plays a tribute to Black culture. Excerpts from Dennis:
James Kanati Allen, First U.S. Black Male Gymnast in Olympics
“James Kanati Allen of Los Angeles, who competed in eight events at the 1968 Olympics and went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Washington, was described as “5/8 Cherokee” in obituaries after his Dec. 31, 2011 death. But Allen had mixed race parents who both were part black, according to his brother, Ramon Eric Allen, former police chief of Compton, California.Read More
“Kanati saw himself as white, black and Native American, and he was not into issues of race,” his brother said. “But in my opinion, if someone subsequent to Kanati said they were the first black Olympic gymnast, they would be in error, because Kanati was black.””
Martin Luther King Jr.,
Increase your own knowledge
When talking to kids about MLK, it is important to include that he is not just a historical figure; his legacy is kept alive by the many people continuing his fight for justice and equality today. Each year on Martin Luthor King Jr day we see lots of quotes and posts praising him. An important part of his legacy is recognizing that he was not universally accepted at the time and how hard he had to work to make a difference. As Ijeoma Oluo said; “This holiday has turned into talking about how peaceful he was, how loving he was, how kind he was in a way to encourage black Americans to be more passive in their activism,” Oluo said. “I think we need to remember who he actually was and what he actually said instead of just what suits the powers that be for us to talk about.” she sees parallels between criticisms of King in his day and criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement these days: that King “was too demanding, that he was inciting violence, that he was asking for too much.”Read More
Here are some more resources for increasing your own understanding:
Maya Angelou, 1928-2014. American poet, writer, activist
An acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also an educator and served as the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.Read More
Would you like to hear Maya Angelou? Here are two videos each under three minutes:
Additional resource on her life:
Shirley Chisholm, 1924-2005
Excerpts from article By Debra Michals, PhD | 2015
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). For more information, click here.Read More
First but not the Last: Women Who Ran for President. https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/zAJim2pJexmPJw
Legislating History: 100 Years of Women in Congress
Frank Kameny, Gay Rights Activist and Pioneer, 1925-2011
Frank Kameny was a Jewish astronomer who was fired from his job at the United States Army Map Service in the mid 1950’s for refusing to identify his sexual orientation. He was the first person to implement a civil rights case based on sexual orientation, and in 1965 he organized the first gay and lesbian demonstration in front of the White House. In 1971 he was known as the first openly gay person to be a congressional candidate. He actively fought for equal rights prior to the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that continued the movement. (He’s also this month’s Google Doodle!)
Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist. Civil War Advisor. Activist, 1822-1913
"Harriet Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross around 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was born into slavery, a middle child among nine siblings, and grew up with her parents who were enslaved. Her mother was owned by the Brodess family, who hired out Harriet to provide childcare, perform field work, and check on muskrat traps. As a child she experienced a head injury that lead to a lifetime of seizures, pain, and visions. She married John Tubman, a free Black man, and changed her name to Harriet Tubman. At age 27 she escaped to Philadelphia on her own traveling mostly at night."Read More
Would you like to take a deeper dive into the history? Here are additional resources, please click for more information:
“More than a century after her death, Harriet Tubman would still recognize many places in the Eastern Shore of Maryland’s mosaic of waterways, forests, and fields. Stops along the byway make it possible to learn about the lives of enslaved and free Blacks, abolitionists, and slave holders, as well as escape routes used by Tubman and her fellow freedom seekers.”
The above information was sourced from Harriet Tubman Byway webpage.
Rosie the Riveter
“The iconic image of Rosie the Riveter was explicitly aimed to change public opinion about women’s work, and the underlying theme of the campaign was to show that the social change required to bring women into the workforce was both a patriotic responsibility for women, and an opportunity for employers to support the war economy. In movies, newspapers, posters, photographs and articles, the Rosie the Riveter campaign stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the workforce and Rosie encouraged women to apply for industrial jobs they may not have previously considered.” For more information, click here.Read More
“African-American women struggled to find jobs in the defense industry and often found that white women were unwilling to work beside them with they did. Although factory work allowed black women to escape labor as domestic servants for a time and earn better wages, most were fired after the war and forced to resume work as maids and cooks.”
A legend of the civil rights movement, Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat in 1955 ignited a long boycott that lasted for 381 days, leading to the desegregation of transportation in Montgomery, Alabama. The incident took place on December 1, 1955. While traveling on a Montgomery city bus, Parks was told by the bus driver to vacate her seat for a white man. It was common at the time for such requests to be made. Defying this practice, Parks refused to give up her seat. She was arrested for this and charged with violation of the laws of racial segregation, also known as ‘Jim Crow’ laws. Parks countered by challenging the conviction, which led many civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, to boycott the Montgomery transport system.Read More
After 381 days of the boycott, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in December 1956 that the segregation law was not aligned with the constitution. The boycott and its successful outcome triggered other civil rights protests over the years. Parks became the face of the battle against inequality. The bus in which Rosa Parks was sitting has been restored and is currently displayed in the Henry Ford Museum.
“History kept me stuck to my seat. I felt the hand of Harriet Tubman pushing down on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth pushing down on the other.”
Normally when we talk about Black women not giving up their seat on the bus (or any form of public transportation) we talk about Rosa Parks. However, there are other Black women who did not give up their seats on busses, street cars and trains who all preceded Rosa Parks. The general rule was that if all the seats in the front of the bus were taken, the Black people sitting in the back must stand or move further back to make room for white people. On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin was returning home from school in Montgomery, AL and she sat in the back of the bus about 2 seats behind the emergency exit. At one of the stops, a white woman boarded the bus and had to stand because the bus was full. The bus driver told 5 Black women to move back. Three of the women moved back but Claudette (who was pregnant at the time) and her friend (also pregnant) refused to move. The bus driver then threatened to call the police who made Claudette’s friend move back. Even with the threat of the police being called, Claudette refused to move. The bus driver called the police who came and handcuffed and arrested her. When Claudette got to the station, she was charged with disturbing the peace, breaking segregation laws, and assault and battery of a police officer. To this day, Claudette maintains she did not assault a police officer; she was charged anyway. Because she was only 15-years-old, Claudette was tried in juvenile court where the charges of disturbing the peace and breaking segregation laws were dropped but the assault and battery of a police officer charge remained on her record. Claudette was convicted of assaulting a police officer and became 1 of 5 plaintiffs in the first federal court case that was filed that challenged the segregation laws in Alabama. Claudette was dropped from the case by civil rights campaigners because Claudette did not have good hair, she was not fair skinned, and she was also unmarried and pregnant. It is now widely accepted that Ms. Colvin was not accredited by civil rights campaigners at the time due to her circumstances. Rosa Parks stated: "If the white press got ahold of that information, they would have had a field day. They'd call her a bad girl, and her case wouldn't have a chance." Claudette later said, "My mother told me to be quiet about what I did. She told me to let Rosa be the one: white people aren't going to bother Rosa, they like her.” The leaders in the Civil Rights Movement tried to keep up appearances and make the "most appealing" protesters the most seen.Read More
Last December at 82 years of age, and 66 years after she was charged with assaulting a police officer, Claudette’s record was expunged. See the video here: Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin gets record cleared after 66 years - YouTube
Charlotte Brown was another Black woman who refused to get off public transportation (which were street cars as this was in the 1800s before buses). The street cars in the 1800s did not allow Black people to ride them. Enter Charlotte. Charlotte’s family moved to San Francisco during the gold rush and her family became part of the Black upper-class society in San Francisco. Charlotte just wanted to get home so she boarded the street car which was about a block away from her home (picture a very hilly San Francisco). Upon boarding the street car, the conductor asked her to leave. Charlotte refused saying that she had every right to ride the street car. The conductor asked her to leave again and again she refused. This went on for a bit until a white woman objected to Charlotte’s presence on the street car. Upon the objection of the white woman, the conductor grabbed Charlotte by the arm and forcibly removed her from the car.Read More
Charlotte sued the Omnibus Railroad Company (the owners of the street car at the time) and the lawsuit asked for $200. The Omnibus Railroad Company stated that the conductor was justified by what he did because the segregation laws said that Black people could be removed to avoid and prevent white women and children from being afraid or repulsed. Charlotte won her case but the jury that presided over the case only awarded her $25. Three days after the end of the first trial, Charlotte was kicked off of another street car. She again brought a lawsuit against Omnibus and, this time, she asked for $3,000. The 12th district court upheld the first verdict that was in favor of Charlotte and ruled that excluding passengers from street cars based on race is illegal. The judge said that he had “no desire to perpetrate a relic of barbarism.” The judge also asked, “Why are we preventing anybody, regardless of color, from riding on street cars?” Charlotte’s case paved the way for other challenges and cases against white only practices on privately owned street cars.
Jo Ann Robinson
“Women's leadership was no less important to the development of the Montgomery Bus Boycott than was the male and minister-dominated leadership.”
In 1949, Jo Ann Robinson boarded a bus where the whites only section was empty. She sat in the section since there were no white people aboard the bus. For this, Jo Ann was verbally attacked by the bus driver. Jo Ann tried to explain her reasoning (that the white section was empty) but the bus driver was having none of it and continued to verbally attack her. Jo Ann quickly became frightened that it was going to escalate to a physical assault so she left the bus. Jo Ann was told by civil rights leaders, at the time, that it was just “a fact of life in Montgomery.” This status quo explanation (especially in this case where status quo was wrong) was unacceptable for Jo Ann so she took matters into her own hands and organized a boycott.Read More
Jo Ann was the target of several acts of intimidation. In February of 1956, a local police officer threw a stone through a window of her home. Two weeks after that incident, another police officer poured acid on her car. The intimidation and violence had gotten so bad that the governor of Alabama ordered the state police to guard, not just Jo Ann’s home, but the homes of other civil rights leaders. The police were the ones instigating the violence and police were the people creating these intimidating situations in the first place and yet they were now ordered to protect the very people they were victimizing.
The boycott continued until December 20, 1956, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregated seating on buses unconstitutional. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the first successful protest of segregation in the Deep South, inspiring other nonviolent civil rights protest. It also established Dr. King as a prominent national figure.
Irene Morgan Kirkaldy
“If something happens to you which is wrong, the best thing to do is have it corrected the best way you can, the best thing for me was to go to the supreme court.”
Greyhound buses (unlike the city buses) did not have a white person section and a Black person section but the rule was that a Black person could not sit next to or across from a white person. At the time there was a similarity between city buses and the Greyhound busses in that, if there is no room in the bus and a white person is picked up and there are no seats, the Black people have to give up their seats. Irene lived with her husband and children in Baltimore, but had been visiting her mother in Gloucester, Virginia, and was returning home from a doctor’s appointment on July 16, 1944, having recently suffered a miscarriage. When she bought her ticket, and boarded the bus, she certainly had no idea, or any plans, regarding what would take place. Irene boarded the Greyhound bus which she said wasn’t very crowded but not completely empty. Irene sat about 3 rows away from the very back row in the designated Black seating section and settled in for the long ride from Gloucester to Baltimore.
Not long into the trip, a young white couple boarded, and as the bus was crowded, the driver, authorized under the Jim Crow laws, told Irene and her seatmate to move. Irene refused and would not allow her neighbor to give up her seat either. Years later she would recall her response and say, “I refused to give up my seat because I had my ticket. I paid my fare and I didn’t feel that it was right for him to tell me that I would have to get up and give my seat for another person who had just gotten on the bus.”
When Irene and her seatmate refused to relinquish their seats to the white couple, the bus driver drove to a nearby town’s jailhouse. A policeman boarded the bus, and informed Irene that he had a warrant for her arrest. Irene knew better and she challenged the sheriff asking, “How is that warrant real? You don’t even know my name!” Irene took the “arrest warrant,” ripped it up and threw it out the window. At this point, the sheriff made the decision to physically remove Irene from the bus. In the retelling of the story, Irene said, “He touched me and that’s when I kicked him in a very bad place. He hobbled off and another one came on. I was going to bite him but he looked dirty so I clawed him instead. I ripped at his shirt and we were both pulling at each other and then he said he would use his night stick. I said, ‘Well, we’ll whip each other then!’” She violently fought him; however, Irene was successfully removed from her seat on the bus, was arrested, and put into jail. When her mother was notified, she came immediately and posted the large, $500, bail for her daughter’s release.Read More
Irene was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and violating Virginia’s Jim Crow transit laws. She pled guilty to the first, and paid a $100 fine for resisting arrest; however, on the second charge, that of violating segregation laws, she refused to plead guilty or pay the $10 fine. It took extreme courage for Irene to publicly declare that she was not guilty of violating any segregation laws; the courthouse was packed and the Ku Klux Klan charter was posted on the door. Nevertheless, she maintained her innocence. She and her lawyer chose to appeal the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, arguing that transportation segregation impeded interstate commerce.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear her case (Morgan vs. Virginia) and in a landmark decision and an unprecedented ruling, it was decided that Virginias segregation transit laws were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court then extended this ruling to bus terminals used in interstate bus services. So, not only were the busses affected, but the terminals also. Despite this, Black people were still being removed and arrested whenever they tried to integrate these facilities. This was due to the fact that the southern states refused to acknowledge the ruling of Morgan vs. Virginia. Irene Kirkaldy’s case inspired the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, which was considered the first Freedom Ride where this ruling was then put to the test as bus riders rode from Atlanta Ga to Washington DC.
Kate Brown was employed by the US Senate; she was in charge of the ladies’ retiring room (fancy word for bathroom). One day in February 1868, Kate decided to go visit some relatives in Washington DC so she attempted to board the train in Alexandria, Virginia. Kate chose a seat in the train car that was reserved for white ladies and white men who were accompanying them. Single white men, Black men and Black women were not allowed in this particular train car. Kate later referred to this train car as the “white peoples’ car” and the alternative car for Kate to ride in was referred to as the “smoking car”. This particular train car was known for being a bit unruly and all Black women who were travelling without a male companion were not protected. Kate said she was not going to ride in a car than left her little to no protection from those men. Knowing all this beforehand, Kate purchased a ticket to the ladies’ car and with that purchase, she felt entitled her to ride in the ladies’ car.
As Kate Brown stepped aboard the ladies’ car, the company’s private police told her that she must enter the other car. Kate replied, “this car will do” (referring to the ladies’ car). The policeman again told her she could not ride in that car and said to her “this car is for ladies” and Kate Brown was not considered a lady. At this point, the policeman threatened to beat her as Kate explained, “I bought my ticket to go to Washington in this car and before I leave this car, I will suffer death.” The policeman then grabbed Kate by the arm and attempted to pull her out of the car and pounded on her knuckles, twisted her arm and grabbed her by her collar. A bystander, who called himself a sheriff, grabbed Kate by the neck and dragged her out of the car and onto the platform. This was all followed by a violent struggle that lasted somewhere between 6-11 minutes. Kate’s injuries were so bad that she began coughing up blood and had to seek medical treatment; she spent several weeks recovering.Read More
Kate sued the railway company and won, with the district court awarding her $1,500. The railway company appealed several times and it went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court hearing, it was stated that the railway line was not allowed to segregate according to the congressional charter (which stated that no person shall be excluded from the cars on account of race). Kate recovered from her injuries and continued working for the US Senate until 1881.
Cultural Competence vs. Cultural Humility
“Perhaps one of the gravest assumptions we can make in the pursuit of inclusion is to believe that we have the ability to achieve real, and broadly represented, cultural competence. For decades those of us committed to advancing social justice and working toward the development of a society where all people are treated with dignity and respect, have pursued efforts towards the attainment of cultural competence. We’ve taught this in our classes and shared it in our communities. This notion, that through education we can truly understand the lived experience of our neighbor, has proven problematic. It’s flawed. In teaching cultural competence, we make the assumption it’s possible to fully understand the vast and diverse array of experiences of all of those with whom we come in contact. Perhaps we can learn more, and get partially there, but in teaching this to our students and our communities, our friends and our families, we are setting up a false expectation that competence is an end goal which is fully attainable and concrete. Complete and thorough cultural competence is not attainable. How many among us even fully understand our own lived experience?Read More
It is dangerous to assume that we can completely understand the lived experience of our neighbor, and when we do we create spaces primed with opportunity for misunderstanding, exploitation, marginalization, and structural oppression.”
We must shift our efforts from the pursuit of an attainable understanding to the development of a new habit: cultural humility. There are significant differences between cultural competence and cultural humility. Cultural humility is a process that one engages in, rather than a level of education one seeks to attain. Cultural humility focuses on moving the emphasis away from our own lived experience, and even the way that we ascribe meaning to the lived experience of others, to give value to the practice of listening to and embracing the voices of those other than ourselves. What our university, our community, our nation, and indeed our world needs at this time, more than ever, is the expansion of this habit. Less talking. Less assuming we understand what it feels like to be someone else. More compassion. More listening and accepting what others tell us they’re experiencing. As an educator, I’ve found that perhaps the most difficult lesson to teach is when I try to explain to a person who has lived through adversity, that through complicated layers of privilege, or the lack thereof, others may have had an even smaller chance of success than they did. None of us is without some degree of privilege. Some of us have more than others. None of us has lived without having to endure adversity of some kind. Some far more than others. All of us have the ability to engage those around us in a habit of cultural humility. It is a choice. Perhaps this is one of the only things that will give us the ability to genuinely and authentically unite and move forward together.”
Koutahi, M. (2016, 28 November). Professor’s Perspective: Cultural Competence vs. Cultural Humility. Forum Magazine, 2.
The word “culture” means the “integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group.”
Learning about Our Own Culture
We view our world through our own cultural lens. This lens affects how we see ourselves and how we see others. It also has a significant impact on the choices we make and the paths we take in our lives.
Learning how cultural influences have molded your own life opens a window of self-awareness that allows you to honestly look at how your preferences, bias, and perceptions play a part in your views of and interactions with people of other cultures.
Building your Cultural Humility
To practice cultural humility, you must have the following:
Learning about the Cultures of Others
How can you learn about the unique nature, strengths and experience of the child? How can you make sure that you individualize the care you provide to the child? You can learn about their culture by:
“People can only live fully by helping others to live. When you give life to friends you truly
live. Cultures can only realize their further richness by honoring other traditions...”
-Daisaku Ikeda, Japanese Peace Activist and Buddhist Leader
Trans-racial resource families consist of children of one race or culture being raised by parents of a different race or culture. Trans-racial families are considered families of color. White parents of children of color have the responsibility to help their children define themselves as a member of their own genetic racial community. By connecting your children to their own race and culture, they will learn to grow in their roots while incorporating what they are learning from you about their identity in a trans-racial home.
Questions and tasks for multi-cultural parenting
It is important to evaluate your own beliefs about other cultures and other races before parenting trans-racially. Every person has biases, and uncovering them is a lesson in self-awareness and an opportunity for personal growth.
Questions to ask yourself Tasks
|How many friends do you have of another race or culture?||Seek out mentors within your child’s culture - for yourself and for your child. Interact with people of your child’s race–form friendships with people of all cultures, valuing diversity.
|What types of things do you seek to know about other cultures?||Recognize multiculturalism is an asset and valued. Make your home a bicultural home.|
|Do you attend multi-cultural events and celebrations?||Go to places where your child is surrounded by people of his/her same race and culture.
|What do you know about specialized skin and hair care for children of color?||Provide the appropriate hair and skin care for your child.|
|Have you incorporated other races and cultures into your home life?||Talk about race and culture often. Incorporate culturally relevant food, celebrations, and stories into your home.
|Are the schools in your area diverse with children of many cultures?
|When possible choose integrated schools that offer unbiased educational materials.
|What cultures are represented in your church?||If possible choose to live in a diverse, integrated neighborhood, attend a multi-cultural church or visit different churches and temples.|
|How do your friends, and extended family members view people of different races?||Stand up to racism and discrimination. Have a no tolerance policy for it.|
Improving Cross-Cultural Communication
Cultural Humility Resources
Deaf History Month, March 13 to April 25, 2021
“National Deaf History Month is celebrated from March 13 through April 15 to commemorate the achievements of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The time frame is spread across March and April in recognition of three turning points in deaf education history dating back to the early 1800s.
On April 15, 1817, America’s first public school for the deaf was opened. On April 8, 1864, Gallaudet University — the world’s first institution dedicated to advanced education for the deaf and hard of hearing — was officially founded. And more than 100 years later, on March 13, 1988, Gallaudet hired its first deaf president in response to its students’ Deaf President Now movement.Read More
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) first introduced National Deaf History Month in 1997 and, in 2006, the American Library Association partnered with NAD in supporting and spreading awareness of this celebration.” (excerpt from Insight Into Diversity)
Insight Into Diversity highlights the first deaf Black woman to earn a doctoral degree in the US, a deaf Mexican-American who as a child worked alongside farmworker parents, the first deaf African-American boxer, the deaf founder of the Girl Scouts, and the first deaf actor. Deaf Women United created Deaf Women Herstory Month in 2014 to celebrate contributions made by this under-recognized group during Women’s History Month in March.
“Driven by compassion and a strong sense of purpose, deaf women have long been fighters for social justice. Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna (1790-1846) was a popular deaf writer whose work “The Wrongs of Woman” exposed the deplorable living and working conditions of female laborers in London. Juliette Gordon Low, who became deaf as a young adult, devoted her time to charity work and founded The Girl Scouts of America in 1913. Since it’s creation, The Girl Scouts program has helped millions of young Americans from all walks of life to become more confident and capable individuals. In 1986, Marilyn J. Smith founded Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services to address the unique needs of deaf and deaf-blind victims of abuse. Smith’s organization has centers across the country which are run by and for deaf people to provide training and education regarding issues of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Deaf Women throughout History
Deaf women have also made significant contributions to the sciences. Annie Jump Cannon, born in 1863, became progressively deaf throughout her childhood, but not before she learned about the constellations from her mother. Cannon's lifelong passion for astronomy led her to pursue a degree in physics, studying stars and novae in the College Observatory at Wellesley. She became the leading expert in stellar classification, a world traveler, and an advocate for women's suffrage. Anthropologist and poet Ruth Benedict was born in 1887. Partially deaf from childhood, Benedict was fascinated with observing the world around her and devoted her life to cultural studies. Known from her humanist perspective, Benedict gained prominence as a respected female researcher in a field dominated by men. Her book "Patterns of Culture" helped shape modern social research methodology.Read More
Between communication obstacles and societal oppression, deaf women had to really break through th ebarriers to receive the education they deserved. It was the impressive intelligence of young Alice Cogswell which inspired Thomas Hopikins Gallaudet to create the world's first University for the Deaf in 1817. Through the 19th century, deaf-blind women such as Julia Brace, Laura Bridgman, and Helen Keller went out to further prove that physical disabilities did not limit ones ability or desire to learn. These pioneers opened the door for women like Marie Jean Philip (1953-1997), who was a Gallaudet graduate, educator, and international advocate for deaf language rights. Philip was one of the first people to research, study, and establish American Sign Language as a recognized language!" (excerpt from Sign Nexus Celebrating Women Through History)
Additional Information on Deaf History:
Additional Resources on Deaf Culture:
Person first language or identity first language
The goal with person first language is to center the person and this can be a good way to default when you don’t know someone’s preference. Person with a disability, person with Autism. It is becoming more common for people to use identity first language. Disabled person or Autistic person. Why do some prefer this version? Their disability, autism etc. is part of who they are, it is their lived experience. If you separate that part from them, then they risk it being ignored. In Identity first language, the word person is still there. It would be problematic to refer to groups as “the disabled”, “the autistics”. If we remove the word person entirely then we are at risk of ignoring their humanity.Read More
Wheelchair user vs person in a wheelchair – the first gives the person more agency. They are not passively sitting in a chair, they are actively using it. People who use wheelchairs would also work. This can apply with any type of assistive device.
It’s also worth noting that your perception of the word disabled may be very different from people with disabilities. Many folks may be classified disabled in the sense that their accessibility needs are legally protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA. Interpreters for the Deaf, wheelchair ramps etc. Often these folks will tell you that they don’t see their disability as a negative. The challenge is that society designs the world in a way that does not accommodate them. It’s not the disability but society that makes life harder. If every public building had wheelchair access, then wheelchairs users would have greater freedom. If every video, lecture etc. was closed captioned the Deaf and Hard of Hearing would have access. If we all learned American Sign Language alongside spoken language as children then Deaf people would have greater freedom. Think of it this way - Deaf people have language and can communicate, if I don’t know sign language why don’t I think that I am the one that can’t communicate with them?
Many people experience chronic pain, illness or have disabilities that you may not know about. When we think about disability we tend to picture something visible and permanent. Not only are there many conditions where a person’s needs and abilities can change day by day but there are conditions where you may not see anything obvious to identify someone as disabled. As part of the ADA people do not have to share what their disability is in order to receive accommodations. The best practice is working to make public spaces as accommodating as possible so that people don’t have to ask or reveal a need for accommodation.Read More
Here is a link to a story and a theory created by one woman to explain life with chronic illness to her friend. This story does not apply to everyone with a disability but there are many who find it helpful. You may have run across the term “spoonie”, well here is the theory behind it.
But You Dont Look Sick? support for those with invisible illness or chronic illness The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino - But You Dont Look Sick? support for those with invisible illness or chronic illness
Intersectionality and Disability
Language is central to disability politics; negative language can reinforce oppression and discrimination. Using positive language and the social model is vital to achieving an intersectional approach in building enabling and inclusive support services for disabled people. The social model is founded on the idea that our environment and societal barriers disable us, not a fault with the person. Seeing the whole person beyond their disability makes a huge difference in understanding disclosure rates, prevalence rates and engagement with services.Read More
Gender Equality: a Definition
Gender equality means that all genders are free to pursue whatever career, lifestyle choice, and abilities they want without discrimination. Their rights, opportunities, and access to society are not different based on their gender. Gender equality does not necessarily mean that everyone is treated exactly the same. Their different needs and dreams are valued equally. Gender equity is often discussed at the same time as gender equality for this reason. Since society has favored men for so long, men have many advantages. Equity fills in the gaps so everyone else can “catch up” to men. It addresses discrimination and imbalances in society so that equality can become a reality.
International Women's Day
The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28th, 1909. The day was designated in honor of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. But the first milestone in US was much earlier - in 1848. Indignant over women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott congregate a few hundred people at their nation’s first women’s rights convention in New York. Together they demand civil, social, political and religious rights for women in a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. A movement is born. To learn more, click here.Read More
This movement has continued on for over a century but has lost steam at times. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be "Women's History Month", calling Americans to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) by reflecting on "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country's history. The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. To learn more, click here.
For example, UN Women announced the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021 (IWD 2021) as, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. To learn more, click here.
Ways to Celebrate International Women’s DayRead More
While many religions and cultures celebrate harvest and or winter holidays these can be different dates in different hemispheres. Not all religions have a December holiday and not all holidays in December are the major holiday for different religions. I.e. Hanukkah is not the holiest of Jewish holidays but it is in December. In the Islamic faith there are no holidays in December but their holiest celebration is Ramadan which starts in April next year.
Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.Read More
The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple (as you’ll read below). Also spelled Hanukkah (or variations of that spelling), the Hebrew word is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah.
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d.
When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity. To learn more, click here.
Christmas, Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding terms in other languages—Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French—all probably denote nativity.Read More
The German word Weihnachten denotes “hallowed night.” Since the early 20th century, Christmas has also been a secular family holiday, observed by Christians and non-Christians alike, devoid of Christian elements, and marked by an increasingly elaborate exchange of gifts. In this secular Christmas celebration, a mythical figure named Santa Claus plays the pivotal role. Christmas is celebrated on Friday, December 25, 2020.
The early Christian community distinguished between the identification of the date of Jesus’ birth and the liturgical celebration of that event. The actual observance of the day of Jesus’ birth was long in coming. In particular, during the first two centuries of Christianity there was strong opposition to recognizing birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus. To learn more, click here.
Dia De Los Muertos
Festivals of life nourish us with ancient rituals in a fast-changing world, covering all facets of the human condition, the changing seasons, weddings, coming of age ceremonies, births and deaths, the worship of gods and the battle against evil spirits. Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations unite the living and the dead in feasting, dancing, and decoration.Read More
The Day of the Dead is a time of celebration and remembrance of loved ones who have passed away, much like Memorial Day in the United States. During the days of the dead, the family often takes the opportunity to visit the gravesite and pull weeds, clean any debris and decorate the graves of loved ones. Day of the Dead (Día De Los Muertos) is a two-day holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (Offerings) to honor their departed family members that have passed.
Origins of Day of the Dead
The roots of the Day of the Dead, celebrated in contemporary Mexico and among those of Mexican heritage in the United States and around the world, go back some 3,000 years, to the rituals honoring the dead in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The Aztecs and other Nahua people living in what is now central Mexico held a cyclical view of the universe, and saw death as an integral, ever-present part of life.
The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. A blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture, the holiday is celebrated each year from October 31- November 2. While October 31 is Halloween, November 1 is “el Día de los innocents,” or the day of the children, and All Saints Day. November 2 is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of children can rejoin their families for 24 hours. The spirits of adults can do the same on November 2.
How is the Day of the Dead Celebrated?
El Día de los Muertos is not, as is commonly thought, a Mexican version of Halloween, though the two holidays do share some traditions, including costumes and parades. On the Day of the Dead, it’s believed that the border between the spirit world and the real-world dissolve. During this brief period, the souls of the dead awaken and return to the living world to feast, drink, dance and play music with their loved ones. In turn, the living family members treat the deceased as honored guests in their celebrations, and leave the deceased’s favorite foods and other offerings at gravesites or on the ofrendas built in their homes. Ofrendas can be decorated with candles, bright marigolds called cempasuchil and red cock’s combs alongside food like stacks of tortillas and fruit.
The most prominent symbols related to the Day of the Dead are Calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). In the early 19th century, the printer and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada re-envisioned Mictecacíhuatl, the Aztec goddess of the underworld, as a female skeleton known as La Calavera Catrina, now the most recognizable Day of the Dead icon.
During contemporary Day of the Dead festivities, people commonly wear skull masks and eat sugar candy molded into the shape of skulls. The pan de ánimas of All Souls Day rituals in Spain is reflected in pan de Muerto, the traditional sweet baked good of Day of the Dead celebrations today. Other food and drink associated with the holiday, but consumed year-round as well, include spicy dark chocolate and the corn-based liquor called atole. You can wish someone a happy Day of the Dead by saying, “Feliz Día de los Muertos.”
Though the particular customs and scale of Day of the Dead celebrations continue to evolve, the heart of the holiday has remained the same over thousands of years. It’s an occasion for remembering and celebrating those who have passed on from this world, while at the same time portraying death in a more positive light, as a natural part of the human experience.
Diwali is a holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in Metro Detroit, India and around the world. The five-day occasion is also known as the festival of lights. This year it was November 14th.Read More
“Diwali is not only significant because of its massive popularity and brilliant displays of fireworks but also because it symbolises the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil and of knowledge over ignorance. On this day, diyas, candles and lamps are placed all around the house, to ‘light’ the way to knowledge and victory. Each house is decorated with various assortments of coloured lights and diyas. The entire country is bathed in the soft glow of light and warmth emanating from every household, making it a truly wondrous sight to behold.
The celebration of Diwali also serves as a cleansing ritual, one that signifies letting go of all of the past year’s worries and troubles and stepping into the light. In the days leading up to Diwali, families get together to clean, renovate and decorate their respective households and workplaces with rangolis and diyas. Diwali marks the onset of winter and the beginning of all things new, both in nature and humanity.” To learn more, click here.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.Read More
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. (juneteenth.com)
“As the cultural director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, I love being able to discuss with the public some of our rituals and customs. I’d like to again discuss some aspects of the “kakunupmawa” ceremony, as it is known in our people’s native Samala language.Read More
Dec. 20 was considered a day of good luck. It was on this day that the first event of the kakunupmawa ceremony usually would begin with a conference of chiefs.
A portion of this meeting would include discussion of whether any debt was owed to you or your family. These debts must be paid in full, whether owed to you or departed members of your family. After the approved claims were satisfied, a crier would declare: “Rest! Let it be!”
Our ancestors made feathered poles and erected them at special shrines in the valleys and mountains for solstice. They could begin working on these feathered poles in November. A leader would select several men to work together to create the poles. They determined how many poles to make by visiting the places in the valley and hills where a pole previously was put up.
Today, we place “shrine community” and “grave shrine” poles on our sacred mountain known as “Owotoponu,” also called Grass Mountain. We also continue to incorporate our ancestors’ traditional ways into present day ceremonies. Tribal members make fire offerings of chia seeds, acorn flour and berries.”
“THE HOLIDAY KWANZAA is a product of creative cultural synthesis. That is to say, it is the product of critical selection and judicious mixture on several levels. First, Kwanzaa is a synthesis of both Continental African and Diasporanl African cultural elements. This means that it is rooted in both the cultural values and practice of Africans on the Continent and in the U.S. with strict attention to cultural authenticity and values for a meaningful, principled and productive life.Read More
Secondly, the Continental African components of Kwanzaa are a synthesis of various cultural values and practices from different Continental African peoples. In a word, the values and practices of Kwanzaa are selected from peoples from all parts of Africa, south and north, west and east, in a true spirit of Pan_Africanism.
And finally, Kwanzaa is a synthesis in the sense that it is based, in both conception and self-conscious commitment, on tradition and reason. Kawaida, the philosophy out of which Kwanzaa is created, teaches that all we think and do should be based on tradition and reason which are in turn rooted in practice. Tradition is our grounding, our cultural anchor and therefore, our starting point. It is also cultural authority for any claims to cultural authenticity for anything we do and think as an African people. And reason is necessary critical thought about our tradition which enables us to select, preserve and build on the best of what we have achieved and produced, in the light of our knowledge and our needs born of experience. Through reason rooted in experience or practice, then, we keep our tradition as an African people from becoming stagnant, sterile convention or empty historical reference. Instead, our tradition becomes and remains a lived, living and constantly expanded and enriched experience.”
From: "Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture - by Maulana Karenga / pp 15-16 / Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press (2008) To learn more, click here
Now widely-celebrated tradition throughout Latin America, and North America. “Las Posadas” originated in colonial Mexico. The Augustinian friars of San Agustin de Acolman, near Mexico City are believed to have celebrated the first posadas. In 1586, Friar Diego de Soria, the Augustinian prior, obtained a papal bull from Pope Sixtus V to celebrate what were called misas de aguinaldo “Christmas gift masses” between December 16 and 24.Read More
The Aztecs had a tradition of honoring their god Huitzilopochtli at the same time of year (coinciding with the winter solstice), and they would have special meals in which the guests were given small figures of idols made from a paste that consisted of ground toasted corn and agave syrup. The friars took advantage of the coincidence and the two celebrations were combined.
Today, “Las Posadas” is not one single isolated event, but a string of December events e.g. in San Miguel de Allende, the nine nights of the posadas—which means “inn”—represent the nine-day journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
In a different colonia each night, a boy dressed as Joseph and a young girl dressed as Mary (usually riding a burro/donkey) parade through the streets knocking on doors only to be turned away because there is “no room at the inn.”
At each door, they sing the traditional Posada Song, “Pidiendo Posada,” (Begging for Shelter). Learn all the lyrics to the Posada Song here.
Finally, when the Holy Couple finds an open door and a welcome, everyone is offered food and hot fruit ponche to drink. Piñatas get broken and candy gobbled. Try this ponche recipe yourself. It’s a true Mexican taste of Christmas.
Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival, lasts for 16 days. Preparations started with Little New year on January 24, 2022 and continue until New Year’s Eve, January 31, 2022, culminating with the Lantern Festival. The date for Chinese New Year changes every year. This holiday’s history is over 4,000 years old.Read More
We are approaching the year of the tiger, which is known for being courageous, active, and enjoying a challenge. There are also lucky/unlucky colors, numbers for each animal sign. Find your zodiac sign here according to the year of your birth. The Chinese zodiac has 12 animal signs that represent the year in which a person was born. In China, all stores are closed for the first five days, so everyone must stock up for the celebration. There are many traditional foods enjoyed by families to celebrate the new year, such as spring rolls, dumplings, and “longevity” noodles—the noodles should be slurped and never cut to bring a person a long life. If you’d like to learn more about the Lunar New Year, go to this great infographic link.
"Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated on “Fat Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. In many areas, however, Mardi Gras has evolved into a week-long festival." To learn more, click here. Mardi Gras occurs every year 47 days before Easter.
“Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. In Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an, and fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude, and compassion for those less fortunate. Ramadan is a month of intense spiritual rejuvenation with a heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time re-reading the Qur’an and performing special prayers. Those unable to fast, such as pregnant or nursing women, the sick, or elderly people and children, are exempt from fasting.”Read More
“At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate one of their major holidays called Eid al-Fitr or the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.” Children traditionally receive new clothes, money or gifts from parents, relatives and friends. A special prayer and sermon are held the morning of Eid day, followed by a community celebration usually in a park or large hall. Food, games and presents for children are important parts of the festivities, as friends and family spend the day socializing, eating and reuniting with old acquaintances.” To learn more, click here.
“It is the birthday of the universe, the day G‑d created Adam and Eve, and it’s celebrated as the head of the Jewish year. Just like the head controls the body, our actions on Rosh Hashanah have a tremendous impact on the rest of the year.Read More
As we read in the Rosh Hashanah prayers, each year on this day “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die ... who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.”
It is a day of prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe depends on G‑d’s desire for a world, a desire that is renewed when we accept His kingship anew each year on Rosh Hashanah.” To learn more, click here.
Pronouns and Why They Matter
Just as we have names that we go by, we also have pronouns that we want others to use when referring to us. You may not often think of this unless someone uses the incorrect pronoun with you. The name or pronouns that people use don't necessarily indicate anything about their gender or other identities. While we more often share our name and pronouns publicly, we tend to keep identity more private (i.e. we don’t always freely share our race, class, or sexuality with acquaintances).Read More
People may make assumptions about the gender of another person based on appearance or name but these assumptions aren’t always correct. Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment. Automatically sharing our own pronouns is a way to make it more comfortable for others to share their pronouns with us. Some people choose not to use pronouns at all and can be referred to by their name in place of pronouns.
Most Common Pronouns
Some examples of neopronouns:
What about Foster Children and Pronouns?
Foster children have the right to use the name and gender pronoun they identify with and that right must be respected by caregivers, SWs, teachers etc.
Simple Ways to Start Sharing Pronouns
To add your pronouns to your email signature there are several options. You can use parenthesis after your name, or use a separate line after your name, title or contact information.
What Do I Do if I Misgender Someone?
The first thing to be aware of is that we often assume gender, and sexual identity. If you see someone with long hair and makeup, no facial hair you may assume that person is a cis gendered heterosexual and hetero romantic woman. Part of respecting identities is realizing how often we assume based on the cultural norms we grew up with. Those norms can make anyone who doesn’t fit within them feel like an outsider. So, the idea of not assuming these things even if you are thinking in your head “but the person is clearly a man, clearly white and straight...?”
Try to develop the habit of not assuming. If you do make an assumption or a mistake, generally the best course is to listen to the person, take accountability, apologize and move on.
Here are some examples;
If you are unsure or someone else corrects you.
Person 1: “Jesse said he wants to go to the movies.”
Person 2: “Jesse is non binary and uses they/them pronouns”
Person 1: “Oh, Thanks for letting me know. They want to go to the movies.”
It can be helpful to repeat the statement, it shows willingness to correct the mistake and honestly it is good practice anytime you are still learning.
The person corrects you.
Person 1: Talking to a group that includes Jesse. “Hey, Jesse said he wants to go to the movies with us!”
Jesse: “Uh, I'm a woman?!”
Person 1: “Thank you, sorry...She said she wants to go to the movies with us!”
I catch myself making the mistake
“Jesse said she wants to go to the movies.” (Jesse is male) “Sorry, he said he wants to go.”
You may feel awkward or embarrassed but that is not Jesse’s responsibility. Quickly apologize and move on. If you have someone in your life that has let you know their name and pronouns are not what you thought they were – practice using their correct name and pronouns even when you are not talking to them. If you continue to use their dead name or the wrong pronouns then you will likely slip up in person. Practice, practice, practice!
Wait, what is a dead name?
When someone comes out as trans gender or non-binary they will often choose a name that fits their identity. The name they were given at birth is called their dead name and can be hurtful if someone deadnames them after they have come out. If they have not legally been able to change their name yet, you can refer to the names as: their name and their legal or dead name. Once their name is legally changed, there is generally no reason to use their deadname. If someone wants to know what they were named previously that is insensitive and no longer relevant. Obviously if it did have some relevance, ie. Looking up an old file under their previous name you can just ask what was their previous name or what their deadname was. Also, you could ask; “what name would I find that file under?” Or “Oh, so they hadn’t changed their name yet when we saw them before, what name is on the file?”
How to address a person or group?
If you are are trying to get the attention of someone you don’t know try; excuse me friend, ahoy there or just a moment kind stranger. For groups; folks, friends, crew, gang, peeps or team! In place of ladies and gentlemen you can use Theydies and gentlethems!
Learning more about Gender
What is the gender binary and how is it different than biological sex? Biological sex is determined by chromosomes and physical characteristics. The reality is most of us don’t really know what our sex chromosomes are but it is assumed based on our physical characteristics.
We often think of sex and gender as both being binary. You are either one or the other. But really, sex is a spectrum. Chromosomes can also be just X, just Y, XO, XXX, XXXY, and more. So not everyone is male or female, some people are intersex. Two of the more well-known intersex conditions are PCOS and Androgen insensitivity syndrome.
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome can impact someone who was AFAB but in puberty they may start to develop characteristics that we commonly think of a as male such as thick facial hair. Now all people have some facial hair but we associate beards with men. There are women who also grow beards. PCOS is a common reason why a woman might have thick facial hair. Beards are not just for boys. Someone with PCOS has XX chromosomes, was AFAB and may identify as a cis gender intersex woman.
Androgen insensitivity syndrome is when someone who has male chromosomes – XY develops female characteristics due to the bodies lack of response to testosterone. The baby has a vagina and develops female characteristics in puberty. Someone with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome with XY chromosomes, was AFAB and might identify as a cis gendered intersex woman.
Cis gender and Trans gender
If You Would Like to Learn More:
LGBT, LGBT+, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA++, Alphabet Mafia, Queer?
Do you wonder what it all means and why does it keep changing? To start with the Why? We are learning more about biology, gender and attraction all the time. The more that society accepts people who fall under the LGBTQIA++ rainbow, the more we get to explore and expand what it means. Younger generations are exploring identity in new ways. It can be confusing, so here are some of the most common terms and links to explore more.
What the plus? ++
LGBTQIA+ Pride Month
Pride Month occurs in the month of June every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. To learn more about Stonewall, please click here.
National Coming Out Day
The first observed National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights thirty-three years ago. National Coming Out Day serves as a reminder that one of the most basic tools for LGBTQ is the power of coming out. NCOD is October 11.
Today, coming out as LGBTQ+ still matters tremendously! When people know someone who is LGBTQ+, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, stories can be powerful to each other.
National Coming Out Day is observed annually, in October, to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. In the first ten to twenty years, observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay. In more recent years, because coming out as LGBT is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags. National Coming Out Day is also observed in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents, and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives.
National Coming Out Day is observed annually, in October, to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement. In the first ten to twenty years, observances were marked by private and public people coming out, often in the media, to raise awareness and let the mainstream know that everyone knows at least one person who is lesbian or gay. In more recent years, because coming out as LGBT is now far less risky in most Western countries, the day is more of a holiday. Participants often wear pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.
National Coming Out Day is also observed in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sponsors NCOD events under the auspices of their National Coming Out Project, offering resources to LGBT individuals, couples, parents, and children, as well as straight friends and relatives, to promote awareness of LGBT families living honest and open lives.
Asexual Awareness Week
Ace Week is an annual campaign to educate and build awareness about asexuality. This international campaign is twelve years old this year.
What is Asexuality?
Sexual attraction is a type of attraction to another person that involves a sexual interest towards them. While this type of attraction is a normal part of life for many people, this concept can be completely foreign for people who identify as asexual. Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and/or does not experience desire for sexual contact. Like any other sexual orientation, asexuality isn’t a choice. Unlike abstinence and celibacy, which are both choices to avoid sex, asexuality is an innate part of who someone is. There are some people who may not fit the strictest definition of the word asexual but nonetheless feel their experience aligns with asexuality in some way. Gray-asexual (or graysexual) is a term that describes this experience. Gray-asexuality incorporates a wide range of experiences, including: The term asexual umbrella (or asexual spectrum) includes all the identities related to asexuality, including asexual, gray-asexual, and demisexual. The word “ACE “ is shortcut word for the identities that fit within the asexual umbrella, and it can also be used to refer to a person who identifies with the asexual umbrella. For example, an ace person might identify as asexual, gray-asexual, or demisexual.
Like any other sexual orientation, asexuality isn’t a choice. Unlike abstinence and celibacy, which are both choices to avoid sex, asexuality is an innate part of who someone is.
There are some people who may not fit the strictest definition of the word asexual but nonetheless feel their experience aligns with asexuality in some way. Gray-asexual (or graysexual) is a term that describes this experience. Gray-asexuality incorporates a wide range of experiences, including:
The term asexual umbrella (or asexual spectrum) includes all the identities related to asexuality, including asexual, gray-asexual, and demisexual. The word “ACE “ is shortcut word for the identities that fit within the asexual umbrella, and it can also be used to refer to a person who identifies with the asexual umbrella. For example, an ace person might identify as asexual, gray-asexual, or demisexual.
What is Neurodiversity?
You may know or overhear people using the terms Neurotypical/Neurodiverse to talk about how they think or how their brain works. Many folks with ADHD, and Autism describe themselves as Neurodiverse and use Neurotypical to describe people without Autism or ADHD. They don’t see themselves as having a disorder or disability, it is just how their brain works.Read More
"each person has neurological strengths and weaknesses that should be appreciated in much the same way diverse cultures and ethnicities are welcomed." (Berger, K. (2018) The Developing Person through Childhood and Adolescence (11th ed.) pg. 323)
“Neurodiversity refers to the idea that neurological differences, such as those seen in autism or ADHD, reflect normal variations in brain development. Neurodiversity is often contrasted with the “medical model,” which views conditions like autism or ADHD as disorders to prevent, treat, or cure. There has been a push to move away from this idea of pathology and more toward a more nuanced perspective with variations of what is “normal.””
“The term originally referred most commonly to autism but has since come to include ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette's, synesthesia, as well as other learning and developmental differences.”
Autism Acceptance Month
In 1970, the Autism Society launched an ongoing nationwide effort to promote autism awareness and assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible. In 1972, the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s week, which evolved into Autism Acceptance Month (AAM). This April, we continue our efforts to spread awareness, promote acceptance, and ignite change.Read More
The Autism Society of America, the nation’s oldest leading grassroots autism organization, is proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month in April 2021 with its “Celebrate Differences” campaign. Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.
Why the Shift Away from Autism Awareness?
“In 2011, autistic people decided to take back Autism Awareness Month, and Paula Durbin Westby organized the first Autism Acceptance Month in response. Westby chose the word “acceptance,” which conveys a shift in thinking or in action, and goes beyond just being aware that autistic people exist. It’s about equal rights and justice for the autistic community, treating autistic people with autonomy and respect, and adopting a “nothing about us without us” mindset that autistic people should be at the center of conversations about autism.”Read More
In an article by Alaina Leary she stated that “As a joke a few years ago, I posted on April 2 (widely celebrated as World Autism Awareness Day), “I think you’re all aware, but I’m autistic.” I was sick of seeing photos of non-autistic people on fundraising walks for autism awareness and explaining why many autistic people wouldn’t want a cure even if one were available. I was exhausted because although from the outside it sounds like Autism Awareness Month should be all about autistic people, it’s actually not—and I’m always invisible in conversations about my own disability.
Every April, people pull out their blue clothing and puzzle piece memorabilia to honor Autism Awareness Month, which was started by the Autism Society in 1970 to educate communities and spread public awareness about autism. Since then, the autistic community has spoken up about some of the problems with how this month is celebrated—including its ties to the organization Autism Speaks (that were basically created by Autism Speaks with campaigns like “Light It Up Blue”) and their history of disrespecting autistic people, and its focus on awareness instead of any actionable shift in how autistic people are treated.”
Black History in Ventura County
Books by BIPOC authors
How to Talk to Kids about Current Events
Help kids make sense of the news, ask them questions and get a sense of how they are understanding the information.Read More
~Definitions and examples~
“The refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest.” This can be on an individual level or as part of a larger protest.
Definition: Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance.
Helping Kids Understand Civil Disobedience
“An organized public demonstration expressing strong objection to an official policy or course of action”. A protest can be a lawful event, but it can also include acts of civil disobedience or be an unauthorized group gathering together. In some cases, events that would be considered riots by authorities become protests by historical record. Boston Tea Party – Riot or protest? “Despite its quaint-sounding name, the 1773 "tea party" was in fact a bitter reaction to harsh new British taxation acts. Over the course of three hours on Dec. 16, more than 100 colonists secretly boarded three British ships arriving in harbor and dumped 45 tons of tea into the water. The unorthodox protest was a key precursor to the American Revolution.” Most likely considered a riot by authorities at the time, we now look at it as a justified protest of unfair taxes.
“A violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd”. A defining characteristic of riots is that they are spontaneous and not organized. Sometimes a riot happens when there is a large excited group of people i.e. after a large sporting event, when fans of either a winning or losing team are leaving a stadium and begin damaging property. More often they are a reaction to long standing inequity and often happen right after an event that heightens the tension of injustice. What starts as a riot in reaction to an event can, in following days, turn into organized protests.
What was interesting in looking up riots as examples is that there were many inconsistencies in how events were labeled. I think it highlights the importance of not putting a value judgement on something based on the word riot. Riots can lead to protest and necessary change, but riots can also result in harm to marginalized communities.
“A violent uprising against an authority or government. An act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” “More than "mob" or "riot," the word specifies a violent uprising against authority — and it carries both historical precedence and legal implication in the U.S. Code.”
While a protest may be an effort to change law or policy, it does not stop the law in the moment. A riot as a reaction to injustice, may try to stop the enforcement of a law in the moment – i.e. hiding someone that the police are looking for and civil disobedience is deliberate breaking of a law but allowing the enforcement of the law in the moment. Insurrection is an attempt to stop the government from being able to function. To potentially overthrow the government as a whole rather than change a policy or systemic injustice.
So, this may bring up the question of how is an insurrection different than a rebellion or revolution? Rebellion and revolution are technically insurrections, but when working to overthrow an unjust government, we tend to label it revolution instead.
If your child or client asks “what should they do?”
The children you talk to, work with and adult clients may ask what they should do or even what do you do about these events? Activism comes in all shapes and sizes and change can often seem unbearably slow.Read More
If you are passionate about a cause and a physical demonstration isn’t something you’re comfortable with there are other ways to advocate and show support for what you believe in. You can attend town hall meetings, write to your senator, become more educated, donate time or money, share your story, listen to others and support the voices of people most affected. There are so many ways to be an activist, you just have to find what works for you- and, most importantly, take action.
How to Celebrate Black History Month With Kids
Black History Month begins February, this is why it's important for kids to know what it's all about, plus tips from educators on celebrating as a family, from fun activities to volunteer opportunities.
Martin Luther King Jr.
From 6 meaningful ways kids can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr:
African people have the most unique and diverse hair and only recently has that been a symbol of pride. Black hair can vary from soft curls to tight curls and coils, thin to thick, almost straight, and more.Read More
Hairstyles helped to identify age, social rank, occupation, marital status, religion, and ethnicity. When Europeans began to kidnap Africans and trade them, many of them wore elaborate hairstyles. At first, these hairstyles were admired and adored by the Europeans. However, something had to be done to rid them of their identity and control. Slave owners shaved both the men’s and women’s hair and enslaved Africans were no longer allowed to speak their native languages or continue any traditions or dances. This is why and when African culture and traditions began to disappear. Slave owners replaced the rich African culture with their standard of beauty which included fair skin, straight hair, and their European facial features. The enslaved women were often abused by their “owners” and this resulted in the birth of mixed-race children who were born with hair that was straighter and less curly. Due to brainwashing, many Black people started to promote the idea that kinky hair and darker skin were less attractive which was a mentality that was passed down from generation to generation. The enslaved Africans were given no way to care for their hair, so they were forced to use butter, baking grease, and sheep brushes.
In the 1700s, the freed Black people wore hairstyles that drew the attention of white men and the jealousy of white women. In 1786, the tignon law was enacted by the Spanish Governor of Louisiana Esteban Rodriguez Miro. This law forced black women to wear a tignon headscarf.
In the 1800s, due to the uniqueness of African hair, skin, and physique, the Europeans began putting them on display in human zoos. Although in 1865, slavery was finally abolished, it still left many with emotional the psychological scars that are still evidenced today. “Good hair” or hair that is thinner, looser in texture or looks closer to European standard, became a prerequisite for getting jobs and entering schools, churches, and social groups. Black people with afro hair were expected to conform to an aesthetic that values straight hair. The desire for straight hair is a construct that started during colonization.
The box braids we know today originated in 3500 BC in South Africa. The hair was weaved into durable skull fiber caps so it could often times be reused for traditional ceremonies. Their box braids were decorated with beads, jewels, shells, and other valuable items. The braids revealed key aspects of a woman’s identity including their readiness to find a mate and their wealth. A woman with box braids meant a woman of fortune as they were expensive in terms of time and materials.
The term cornrows originated somewhere between the 16th and 19th centuries in colonial America and were named after the agricultural fields that many enslaved people worked in because they had a similar pattern. In the Caribbean, for instance, they are still sometimes referred to as ‘canerows’, linking back to work in the sugar cane fields. Cornrows differ from braids because they aren’t always formed by intertwining three strands of hair that hang from the scalp. Cornrows stay close to the scalp. Cornrows specifically are a hairstyle that Black women have been wearing for centuries. In ancient Egypt, men and women wore cornrows or simple braids, and they were often adorned with gold thread and other delicacies. This type of hairstyle then spread from the Nile Valley throughout the rest of Africa.
The enslaved wore cornrows as a simple way to wear their hair during the week and it was considered the best option for those who worked in plantation houses and were expected to keep a tidy appearance. Cornrows were often used as a way of communicating in code. Written messages or maps could get in the wrong hands, so cornrows were the perfect solution. A particular number of braids would indicate possible escape routes or even be used to signal a meetup time without drawing attention or scrutiny. On top of that, they were also used to hide gold fragments or seeds in order to give the wearer some nourishment if ever they were able to escape.
Local Salons and Barbershops
Youtube Videos to help with hair styling www.cacaregivers.org/resourcesfornonblackcaregivers/
California Alliance of Caregivers hosted a training with Styles 4 Kidz to teach foster and adoptive parents how to care for their children’s hair. The response to the training was overwhelming, and CAC plans to host regular trainings throughout the year.
Talking to Kids
Books for Children
Cultural Considerations When Caring for Your Child
Ways to Donate
Black Owned Businesses
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center
The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, in partnership with then State Senator Holly J. Mitchell of California, to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools. People should not be forced to divest themselves of their racial-cultural identity by changing their natural hair in order to adapt to predominantly white spaces in the workplace or in school. You can help be a part of the change by taking these 2 steps: