Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force

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.

Please click here for our JEDI statement.

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.

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.

This principle encourages working in smaller, more manageable steps to maintain focus on each effort.

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.

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.

Click here for Kids & Families Together’s Guiding Principles

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;

  • BIPOC or POC
  • Black or African American
  • Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Chicano/a
  • POC or BIPOC
  • POC – which stands for “people of color,” is a general umbrella term that collectively refers to all people of color — anyone who isn’t white.
  • BIPOC – “which stands for “Black, Indigenous, and people of color,” is person-first language. It enables a shift away from terms like “marginalized” and “minority.”

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.

Black or African American

  • Black – “generally describes a person of African or Caribbean descent”.
  • African American – a person of African descent in the US.

“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)

Indigenous, Native American, or American Indian

  • Indigenous refers to those peoples with pre-existing sovereignty who were living together as a community prior to contact with settler populations, that were most often – though not exclusively – Europeans. Indigenous is the most inclusive term, as there are Indigenous peoples on every continent throughout the world – such as the Sami in Sweden, the First Nations in Canada, Mayas in Mexico and Guatemala, and the Ainu in Japan – fighting to remain culturally intact on their land bases. Indigenous Peoples refers to a group of Indigenous peoples with a shared national identity, such as “Navajo” or “Sami,” and is the equivalent of saying “the American people.”
  • Native American and American Indian are terms used to refer to peoples living within what is now the United States prior to European contact. American Indian has a specific legal context because the branch of law, Federal Indian Law, uses this terminology. American Indian is also used by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget through the U.S. Census Bureau. Whenever possible, it is best to use the name of an individual’s particular Indigenous community or nation of people; for example, “Tongva,”  “Tataviam” and “Chumash” are the Indigenous Peoples of the Los Angeles area, and they are also “American Indian,” “Native American,” and “Indigenous.” (3)

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.”

Hispanic, Latino/a, or Chicano/a

  • Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish which includes Spain but excludes Brazil. (4)
  • Latino or Latina is people from Latin America which includes Brazil but excludes Spain. (4)
  • Gender neutral can be either Latinx or Lantine. Pronounciations: Latinx  (lah–teen–ex) and Latine (lah-tee-neh). Latinx is more commonly known and used, however Latine follows the same speech pattern as Latino/a and is easier to say for many Spanish speakers.

“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)

  • Chicano, Chicana, or Chicanx – American of Mexican descent, (O - masculine, A - feminine or X -gender neutral.

“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.

“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:

  • honor the lives of our Native sisters,
  • continue to shed light on the countless tragedies involving our Native sisters,
  • highlight the need for ongoing grassroots advocacy and organizing for change of laws, policies, protocols, and allocation of increased resources at the tribal, federal, and state levels to end these injustices, and
  • create the sharing of information needed to understand the legal reforms and changes required.”


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.

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.

"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.

More Resources

Alvin Ailey

American dancer, Choreographer, and founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

For more information, click here.

Revelations on YouTube

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Amanda Gorman

Wordsmith. Change-maker. National Youth Poet Laureate

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.

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.

Here are some more resources for increasing your own understanding 

Maya Angelou


American poet, writer, activisit

For more information.

Would you like to hear Maya Angelou? Here are two videos each under three minutes:

Additional resource on her life:

Shirley Chisholm


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.

First but not the Last: Women Who Ran for President.

Legislating History: 100 Years of Women in Congress

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.

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

Tuskegee Study

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.

For more information, click here

Medical System

“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.”

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). “

Minority Stress - Recognizing the impact of “minority stress” on both physical and mental health – Article has some excellent clinical considerations.

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.”

Pdf for Mind the Gap available for free online at his website


To learn about the Kathrine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson the women who inspired Hidden Figures follow the links below.

“Ten Black scientists that science teachers should know about.”

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.

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

Harriet Tubman, 1822-1913

Abolitionist. Civil War Advisor. Activist.

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.

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. 

“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.”

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.

Chicano Movement

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.

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.

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.

Additional Resources:

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:

Viral floor routine #Blackexcellence:

Learn more about Black gymnasts

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. 

“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.””

Gay Rights Activist and Pioneer 

Frank Kameny 


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!)

What is Cultural Humility?

When culture is ignored, families are at risk of not getting the support they need, or worse yet, receiving assistance that is more harmful than helpful.


• Informs our understanding of when support is needed;

• Influences how and from whom we seek support; and

• Influence how we attempt to provide support.

The Child Welfare League of America defines cultural humility as: “The ability of individuals and systems to respectfully and effectively respond to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and faiths or religions in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, tribes, and communities, and protects and preserves the dignity of each.”

A definition of cultural humility in public child welfare should also consider age, especially concerning youth transitioning out of the child welfare system. A context of cultural humility means a commitment to re-evaluate the exclusive, adult-centered culture of child welfare agencies at minimum and an active agenda for empowerment and inclusion of youth at best.

Culture Defined

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.”

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?

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.

Cultural Humility

Evidence shows that children of all races are equally as likely to suffer from abuse and neglect, but children of color, especially African American children, are more likely to enter and remain in care. — GAO Report, African American Children in Foster Care (2007)

Cultural Destructiveness: Characterized by attitudes, policies, and practices that are destructive to cultures and consequently to individuals within the culture.

Cultural Incapacity: When a system does not intentionally seek to be culturally destructive but lacks a capacity to help minority clients or communities because of biased beliefs.

Cultural Blindness: Characterized by the belief that service or helping approaches traditionally used by the dominant culture are universally applicable, regardless of race or culture.

Cultural Pre-Competence: Where systems and individuals are making efforts to improve and there is a desire to provide quality services and a commitment to diversity. This level lacks the information on how to maximize these capacities.

Contributing Factors Include:

• A higher rate of poverty,

• Challenges accessing support services,

• Cultural misunderstanding, and

• Lack of affordable housing

What Can You Do To Help?

  • Co-Caregiving: Involving the parent in the decision-making process.
  • Reunification & Permanency: Supporting efforts for reunification and permanency.
  • Advocacy: Advocating for the child and family.
  • Mentoring: Mentoring the Biological Parents.

Five Essential Elements for a Culturally Humility System of Care

1. Value, accept and respect diversity

2. Conduct cultural self-assessment

3. Manage the dynamics inherent when cultures interact

4. Acquire an institutionalized cultural knowledge

5. Adapt service delivery to accommodate diversity

Becoming a Culturally Humility Individual

To practice cultural humility you must have the following:

  • Self Awareness including your cultural and social economic lens, biases, style preferences.
  • Understanding of the Impact Your Cultural Lens has on your role, communication style, and perceptions.
  • Commitment to Learning more about the culture of interest and respecting families as the primary source for defining needs and priorities.
  • Cross Cultural Communication Skills and an increase in your sensitivity to alienating behaviors.
  • Flexibility, be prepared to work with children and families in a culturally diverse and at times incompetent world.

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.

Learning about the Culture 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 his/her culture by:

• Studying and reading about the culture.

• Talking and working with individuals from the culture.

• Participating in the daily life of the culture.

• Learning their language.

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

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

-Mahatma Gandhi, Spiritual/Political Leader

Improving Cross-Cultural Communication

Educate yourself. Understand that there are potential problems inherent in cross-cultural communication and that you must make a conscious effort to overcome these

problems. Gestures, words, and responses hold different meanings to different cultures. Taking time to educate yourself about the culture of a child will help you be sensitive to these differences.

Look at Your Own Culture. Understand how your cultural lens impacts your perception of others. This will help you identify biases or stereotypes you may use when interacting with the child or his/her family.

Practice Understanding. To better care for your child, try to understand the impact that culture plays on his/her values, perspectives and behaviors. Try to understand how those factors impact the Biological Family as well.

Stop, Drop and Roll! Step back and reflect, use active listening. What you think is a conflict, might instead be a misunderstanding between cultures.

Suspend Judgment. Don’t judge the child or family because of their differences. Acknowledge and honor those differences. This includes the socio-economic status

of families.

Adapt. You will need to be flexible and open-minded to bridge cultural differences and build connections.

Trans-Racial Parenting

Your Responsibility as a Caregiver

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 to Ask Yourself

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.

Here are questions to ask yourself:

• How many friends do you have of another race or culture?

• What types of things do you seek to know about other cultures?

• Do you attend multi-cultural events and celebrations?

• What do you know about specialized skin and hair care for children of color?

• Have you incorporated other races and cultures into your home life?

• Are the schools in your area diverse with children of many cultures?

• What cultures are represented in your church?

• How do your extended family members view people of different races?

Parenting Tasks for the Trans-Racial Parent

• Interact with people of your child’s race–form friendships with people of all

cultures, valuing diversity.

• Live in a diverse, integrated neighborhood.

• Recognize multiculturalism is an asset and valued.

• Seek out mentors within your child’s culture - for yourself and for your child.

• Choose integrated schools that offer unbiased educational materials.

• Stand up to racism and discrimination. Have a no tolerance policy for it.

• Provide the appropriate hair and skin care for your child.

• Make your home a bicultural home.

• Talk about race and culture often.

• Go to places where your child is surrounded by people of his/her same race and culture.

• Incorporate culturally relevant food, celebrations, and stories into your home.

Cultural Humility Resources


Articles and More...

  • The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.( The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) has long provided leadership in cultural and linguistic competence and in addressing health and mental health disparities and inequities.
  • Building Culturally and Linguistically Humility Services: To Support Young Children, Their Families, and School Readiness. ( This publication was developed by Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), under the direction of Phyllis R. Magrab and written by Kathy Seitzinger Hepburn with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The purposeof this tool kit is to provide guidance, tools, and resources that will assist communities in building culturally and linguistically humility services, supports, programs, and practices related to young children, their families.
  • Introduction to Cultural Humility: A Training Tool ( This publication was developed by FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP), a service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, a federally mandated Training and Technical Assistance Provider for CBCAP lead agencies.
  • Struggle for Identity: Issues in Trans-racial Adoption ( This guidebook, by the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, was created to help parents and children in trans-racial homes learn how to thrive in and celebrate their bicultural family; and for children to gain a strong sense of racial identity and cultural connections.
  • Trans-racial Parenting in Foster Care and Adoption: Strengthening Your Bicultural Family ( nysccc-videos/struggle-for-identity/) A training tool, developed by New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children and Photosynthesis Productions, was designed to inform adoptive and Resource families about the needs of their children of a different race or ethnicity. The video presents a starkly realistic account ofthe trans-racial adoption experience. Narrated by young adults who were adopted as children, this 20 minute documentary examines the effects of trans-racial adoption on individuals, families, and society.
  • White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack ( This article is now considered a ‘classic’ by anti-racist educators. It has been used in workshops and classes throughout the United States and Canada for many years. While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topic.

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. 

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.

<![if !vml]>deaf-womens-history-month-march-06<![endif]>Marie Jean Philip

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 for 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.

Between communication obstacles and societal oppression, deaf women had to really break through the barriers to receive the education they deserved. It was the impressive intelligence of young Alice Cogswell which inspired Thomas Hopkins 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 on 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:






More Resources On Deaf Culture:

        • Through the Eyes of Deaf Children (video 7 minutes)- This amazing video on deaf children at school includes learning from a deaf Black adult sharing his experiences being pulled over by police with a visual reference to Black Lives Matter.









        • Learning ASL Online free- This website offers free and quick lessons, by category such as emotions, pronouns, colors, fruits, sports.









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.

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?

Invisible Disability

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.

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.

Identity beyond Disability. Intersectional Approaches to Disability | by Diversity & Ability | DnA’s Blog | Medium

Americans with Disabilities Act | U.S. Department of Labor (

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.

What Does Gender Equality Mean? | Human Rights Careers

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.

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.

Theme for 2021

UN Women announces 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 Day

1. Show your support on social media

2. Involve men and people who identify beyond the gender binary in the conversation and celebration

3. Advocate for gender equality in your workplace

4. Host or attend an online panel

5. Set up a (virtual) coffee date with a woman in your network

6. Start a book club with your colleagues and friends

7. Support women-owned businesses

8. Host a film screening

9. Donate to charity

10. Acknowledge the awesome women in your life (Ideas found more in depth here.)

10 POC-Led Organizations to Support on International Women’s day


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.


“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.

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.”

To learn more, click here


“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.

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


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.

“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.


“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.”

“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. 


Chanukah (12/10-18 this year) is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

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.

Rosh Hashanah 

“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.

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.


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. 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.


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.

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. (

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).

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  

    • She/her/hers

    • He/him/his

    • They/them/theirs


    • These are an alternative gender-neutral pronoun set. Neopronouns can be used to avoid singular they being confused with plural they, to express something else about gender, or because someone may simply feel more comfortable using neopronouns.

Some examples of neopronouns:

    • Ze/zir/zirs

    • Ey/em/eirs

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?” 

What to Do if You Misgender a Trans Person ( 

A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth – The Trevor Project 

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.  

Male – XY chromosomes and has a penis at birth. AMAB – Assigned Male at Birth 

Female – XX chromosomes and has a vagina at birth. AFAB – Assigned Female at Birth 

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 

Cis – means on this side of.  Cis gender – is a person who identifies as the sex they were labeled at birth. 

Trans  - means on the other side or across. Trans gender – is a person who does not identify with the sex they were labeled at birth. The Trans umbrella also includes genderqueer, non-binary, agender or genderfluid. 

Genderqueer – a person who does not fall in the gender binary 

Non-binary or agender – Do not identify with any gender 

Gender fluid – A person who moves between genders. Their gender identity is fluid and may change day to day. 

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. 

L – Lesbian. A woman or non-binary person who experiences attraction to women. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. 

G – Gay. A man or non-binary person who experiences attraction to men. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. Sometimes used as an umbrella term, but can be seen as centering gay men in the community. 

B – Bisexual or Biromantic- attraction to two or more genders. Can include people whose attraction is regardless of gender. Attraction can be romantic and/or sexual. 

T – Trans gender person. Person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans Gender is an adjective, so avoid saying someone is transgender. They are a trans gender person, trans gender man, trans gender woman. Some also use trans masculine or trans feminine. 

Q – Queer – an umbrella term for LGBTQIA, for anyone who feels that they don’t fit a specific identity, or that they fit into multiple identities.  

Not all choose to use Queer for themselves but you will see it used as an academic category I.e. Queer studies, queer history, queer politics. It has also been used historically throughout the civil right movement.  I.e., “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” rallying cry from the 70’s.  

Queer, Gay and other terms are often used at people in derogatory ways and there are individuals that could have trauma associated with any of these labels. That is why it is so important to ask people what identity labels they use and always respect their personal choice.  

Generally, if you are not part of the LGBTQIA++ community, avoid using the words Queer or Gay as umbrella terms.  Within the community Queer is often uses in place of LGBTQIA++. It is seen by many as a simple, non-gendered and inclusive term.  

I – Intersex. Someone whose external sexual characteristics may be ambiguous, not match their chromosomes or they develop secondary sexual characteristics from the "opposite" sex during puberty. Intersex is not a gender. A person with intersex characteristics may be cis, trans or non-binary.

A – Asexual and Aromantic. Asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Aromantic is someone that does not experience romantic attraction. The A is sometimes mistaken for Ally. While allyship is an important thing for any marginalized group, it is not an identity. 

What the plus? ++ 

T, 2 or 2S – Two Spirit. This is a term used by some indigenous people to indicate that; they have both male and female spirit within them, identify as a third gender or don’t identify with the gender assigned at birth. It is not appropriate to use this term as a self-identifier unless you are part of the indigenous community. 

P - Pansexual/Omnisexual - attraction regardless of gender or attraction to all genders. 

Q – Sometimes there is a second Q for Questioning. For someone who is still exploring their attraction or gender.

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.

"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.

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.”

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.”

More Resources













Black History in Ventura County

Books by BIPOC authors 

10 Podcasts That Bring Me Happiness as a Black Listener

These black voices can help provide a sense of rest and comfort right now. I’ve always used film and television as a pick-me-up, something to escape to when I’m overwhelmed with what life and the world is throwing at me. Recently, though, I’ve needed more. I’ve needed connection and understanding and that isn’t something I’ve been able to get from Netflix and chilling alone. So, I’ve been turning to podcasts, especially podcasts created by black people, to get the kinship I’ve been craving. I

Read in Marie Claire.

Business Resources 

Link for Black Owned Etsy shops.

VC Star article for Black Owned restaurants.














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.

    • Take breaks from the news if it becomes too stressful or overwhelming.

    • Teach children soothing or grounding exercises. You can find some in our own Nurturing Connections book!

    • Encourage kids to keep talking and asking questions. Prepare for the long haul, not only do kids come up with different questions after they have had time to process events, it is helpful to be thinking about future events and the need for ongoing conversations.

    • Tell kids to look for helpers – wise words shared by Mr. Rogers that in any crisis there are helpers and that can calm children to learn to focus on the people helping others.

    • Be on the lookout for signs of stress or anxiety. A child may not be able to tell you that they are distressed. Be aware of changes in mood, eating, sleep etc.

    • Support emotional regulation. Keep kids on regular schedules, make sure they have opportunities to eat, sleep, socialize and drink water as needed. Keeping the bodies stable and healthy will support their ability to manage emotions.

    • Look for ways to make a difference. Whether your child wants to be part of a justice movement or just contribute to their community, finding ways to volunteer, give back or be part of an organized movement helps kids feel that they can make a difference!

More resources in this article, click here. 

~Definitions and examples~ 

Civil Disobedience 

“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.

For a protest to count as civil disobedience, three conditions must be met: the law must be broken peacefully, it must be broken publicly, and the person must be willing to suffer the legal penalty. That is what distinguishes civil disobedience from anarchy. Submitting to the law’s punishment shows respect for the concept of law, just not that particular law.

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,primary%20tactics%20of%20nonviolent%20resistance.


    • The Declaration of Independence, 1776. Those who signed accepted that the hangman’s noose was their fate if caught.

    • The Underground Railroad, 1790 to 1860. Consider the famous case of Simeon Bushnell. He and his cohorts defied the Fugitive Slave Act to save a captured runaway slave from being returned to bondage. Bushnell et al were fined and jailed. When they got out of jail, they rescued other runaways, and everything they did was illegal.

    • Martin Luther King’s March on Selma, 1965.  King’s famous 1963 Letter from the Birmingham Jail gave mankind its greatest articulation of civil disobedience theory. He distinguished just laws from unjust laws.

    • Burning draft cards in the late 1960s, early 70s. Draftees during the Vietnam War who did not believe the war was just, including Muhammed Ali, who loudly refused to fight. His actual words are in dispute, but “Why should black folks fight a war against yellow folks so that white folks can keep a land they stole from red folks?” became famous.


“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.


    • The Women's March on Washington – “On Jan. 21, 2017 — the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as 45th president of the United States — more than 470,000 people marched on Washington, D.C., in support of women's rights”.


“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.


    • Tulsa Race Massacre 1921, During the Tulsa Race Massacre (also known as the Tulsa Race Riot), which occurred over 18 hours on May 31-June 1, 1921, a white mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The 1921 Attack on Greenwood was one of the most significant events in Tulsa’s history. Following World War I, Tulsa was recognized nationally for its affluent African American community known as the Greenwood District. This thriving business district and surrounding residential area was referred to as “Black Wall Street.” In June 1921, a series of events nearly destroyed the entire Greenwood area.”   What triggered this event? “On May 30, 1921, a young Black teenager named Dick Rowland entered an elevator at the Drexel Building, an office building on South Main Street. At some point after that, the young white elevator operator, Sarah Page, screamed; Rowland fled the scene. The police were called, and the next morning they arrested Rowland. In the hours after the Tulsa Race Massacre, all charges against Dick Rowland were dropped. The police concluded that Rowland had most likely stumbled into Page, or stepped on her foot.” 

    • Watts Rebellion 1965. The riot spurred from an incident on August 11, 1965 when Marquette Frye, a young African American motorist, was pulled over and arrested by Lee W. Minikus, a white California Highway Patrolman, for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. As a crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene of Frye's arrest, strained tensions between police officers and the crowd erupted in a violent exchange. Unfortunately, there was little systemic improvement after the rebellion but it did spark ongoing activism.


“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.


    • Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 – “On the morning of November 10, 1898, a throng of some 2,000-armed white men took to the streets of the Southern port town of Wilmington, North Carolina. Spurred on by white supremacist politicians and businessmen, the mob burned the offices of a prominent African-American newspaper, sparking a frenzy of urban warfare that saw dozens of blacks gunned down in the streets.  As the chaos unfolded, white rioters descended on City Hall and forced the town’s mayor to resign along with several black aldermen. By nightfall, the mob had seized full control of the local government, some 60 black citizens lay dead and thousands more had fled the city in panic. While it took the form of a race riot, the Wilmington uprising was actually a calculated rebellion by a cabal of white business leaders and Democratic politicians intent on dissolving the city’s biracial, majority-Republican government.”

    • Capitol Insurrection 2021- "This was a deliberate effort to block the actions of the U.S. Congress, and using violence to stop lawmaking to shut the government down, even for a few hours, is the very definition of something beyond a riot."

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. 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 Talk to Children about Historical Events:

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.

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

Shirley Chisholm, 1924-2005

She was the first Black woman elected to congress and the first Black person to run for president in a major party primary.

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). Born in Brooklyn, New York, Chisholm was the oldest of four daughters to immigrant parents. She graduated from Brooklyn Girls’ High in 1942 and from Brooklyn College cum laude in 1946, where she won prizes on the debate team. Although professors encouraged her to consider a political career, she replied that she faced a “double handicap” as both Black and female. Initially, Chisholm worked as a nursery school teacher. By 1960, she was a consultant to the New York City Division of Day Care.

Ever aware of racial and gender inequality, she joined local chapters of the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, as well as the Democratic Party club in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In 1964, Chisholm ran for and became the second African American in the New York State Legislature. In 1968 Chisholm sought—and won—a seat in Congress. There, “Fighting Shirley” introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality, the plight of the poor, and ending the Vietnam War. She was a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, and in 1977 became the first Black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee.

Discrimination followed Chisholm’s quest for the 1972 Democratic Party presidential nomination. She was blocked from participating in televised primary debates, and after taking legal action, was permitted to make just one speech. Still, students, women, and minorities followed the “Chisholm Trail.” She entered 12 primaries and garnered 152 of the delegates’ votes (10% of the total)—despite an under-financed campaign and contentiousness from the predominantly male Congressional Black Caucus.

Of her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.” Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbossed and Unbought—illustrates her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shirley Chisholm Biography

First but not the Last: Women Who Ran for President.

Legislating History: 100 Years of Women in Congress

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. 

Read in Parents.

Martin Luther King Jr.

From 6 meaningful ways kids can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr

    1. Talk about race year round
    2. Share his quotes that are often ignored by the mainstream
    3. Read kids books about injustice (see end of email for books on MLK)
    4. Talk to kids about how social change happens
    5. Teach kids about the power of activism to change unjust laws
    6. Make a family gift to an organization working to stop racism, poverty, or violence

Martin Luther King Jr.

Talking to Kids

YouTube video for talking to kids

Books for Children



Cultural Considerations When Caring for Your Child

Ways to Donate

Black Owned Businesses

Support May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls