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Have you talked to your kids about race, anti-racism, diversity, tolerance, and acceptance?
Studies have shown that even babies as young as six months react to racial differences so it is never too early (or too late).
Even teachers need to look at their own bias. In 2018, Dr. Walter Gilliam from the Yale Child Study Center, conducted a preschool teacher bias study, details are in this story on NPR: Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem.
This article gives an overview of the demographics in town, articles about talking to children about this topic, a list of books for children by age group, and additional resources for adults.
With regard to race, ethnicity and economics, Southington’s population has traditionally been fairly homogeneous, but that is changing and we are seeing it most dramatically with children.
In 2010, the total population in town was 94.3% White (2010 US Census). In the same year, the Southington School District student population was 87.4% White; 1.6% Black or African American; 3.2% Asian, 5.3% Hispanic, 0.1% American Indian and 2.4% Two or more races (2010-2011 Edsight Strategic School Profile).
As of October 2018, the Southington School District student population was 80.5% White; 2.4% Black or African American; 3.6% Asian, 9.4% Hispanic or Latino of any race, and 3.9% Two or more races (2018-2019 Edsight District Profile and Performance Report).
In 2016, 12.8% of the 367 births in Southington were to foreign-born mothers (State of CT Public Health Data, 2016 Annual Registration Report, Table 4)
In March of 2020, the Southington Public School district had 455 registered kindergarten students and 43 of them (9.45%) did not list English as their native language (per District).
The percentage of Southington students enrolled in the free and reduced price meal program was 8.1% in the 2007-2008 school year, it is now triple that at 24% and rising (see Chart 1 from Edsight).
You can learn more via the Connecticut Town Profiles, two-page reports of demographic and economic information for Connecticut’s municipalities, regions, and the state as a whole. They contain information about population, major employers, education, fiscal information, labor force, housing and quality of life.
Talking to Kids About Racism – A school counselor and a children’s book author offer advice for talking to children about racism and George Floyd.
How to Talk to Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide – A brief summary from Today’s Parent.
Confronting Racism at an Early Age – Brief article from Harvard School of Education for educators.
100 Things You Can Say to Your Child to Advance Racial Justice – A collection of blog posts from Race Conscious.org.
Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids – Interviews, resources, and articles.
Embrace Race – A variety of resources for talking to children about race and differences
Talking to Your Child About Identity – Resources that provide the language and information needed to discuss LGBT people and issues in an age-appropriate way with children and youth.
Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism – A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall For Kids and Families – Hosted by CNN’s Van Jones and Erica Hill, along with Sesame Street’s Big Bird and friends, on Saturday, June 6, 2020, on CNN. CNN and Sesame Street join once again for a new Town Hall to help kids and families discuss racism and the protests taking place nationwide, build empathy, and embrace diversity.
“Ten Tiny Babies,” by Karen Katz YouTube Read Aloud
Ezra Jack Keats’s books about Peter (“The Snowy Day,” “A Letter to Amy,” “Hi, Cat!,” “Whistle for Willie”)
“A is for Activist,” by Innosanto Nagara YouTube Read Aloud
“Reach,” by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis
“More, More, More, Said the Baby,” by Vera B. Williams YouTube Read Aloud
“Love Makes a Family,” by Sophie Beer YouTube Read Aloud
“Families Belong,” by Dan Saks YouTube Read Aloud
“My Two Moms and Me,” by Michael Joosten YouTube Read Aloud
“My Two Dads and Me,” by Michael Joosten YouTube Read Aloud
“Mommy, Mama, and Me,” by Leslea Newman YouTube Read Aloud
“Daddy, Papa, and Me,” by Leslea Newman YouTube Read Aloud
“Hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry YouTube Read Aloud
“The Colors of Us,” by Karen Katz YouTube Read Aloud
“All the Colors We Are,” by Katie Kissinger (written in both English and Spanish) YouTube Read Aloud
“Happy In Our Skin,” by Fran Manushkin YouTube Read Aloud
“Saturday,” by Oge Mora YouTube Read Aloud
“It’s Okay to Be Different,” by Todd Parr YouTube Read Aloud
“What’s the Difference?: Being Different Is Amazing,” by Doyin Richards YouTube Read Aloud
“The Skin You Live In,” by Michael Tyler YouTube Read Aloud
“Yoko,” by Rosemary Wells YouTube Read Aloud
“Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” by Barack Obama YouTube Read Aloud
“I Got the Rhythm,” by Connie Shoenfield-Morrison YouTube Read Aloud
“Téo’s Tutu,” by Maryann Jacob Macias
“Honey & Leon Take the High Road,” by Alan Cumming
Early Elementary LGBTQ Family-Friendly Books, a list from Family Equality
“Ron’s Big Mission,” by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden YouTube Read Aloud
“Daddy, There’s A Noise Outside,” by Kenneth Braswell YouTube Read Aloud
“The Story of Ruby Bridges,” by Robert Coles YouTube Read Aloud
“Momma, Did You Hear the News?,” by Sanya Whittaker Gragg YouTube Read Aloud
“Black All Around,” by Patricia Hubbell YouTube Read Aloud
“Let’s Talk About Race,” by Julius Lester YouTube Read Aloud
“The Youngest Marcher,” by Cynthia Levinson YouTube Read Aloud
“Julián Is a Mermaid,” by Jessica Love YouTube Read Aloud
“Meet Viola Desmond,” by Elizabeth MacLeod YouTube Read Aloud
“I am Jackie Robinson,” by Brad Meltzer YouTube Read Aloud
“A Kids Book About Racism,” by Jelani Memory YouTube Read Aloud
“Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged,” by Jody Nyasha YouTube Read Aloud
“The Stone Thrower,” by Jael Ealey Richardson YouTube Read Aloud
“Child of the Civil Rights Movement,” by Paula Young Shelton YouTube Read Aloud
“Secret of the Dance,” by Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow
“Each Kindness,” by Jacqueline Woodson YouTube Read Aloud
“The Other Side,” by Jacqueline Woodson YouTube Read Aloud
“Carter Reads the Newspaper,” by Deborah Hopkinson YouTube Read Aloud
“Martin’s Big Words,” by Doreen Rappaport YouTube Read Aloud
“Let the Children March,” by Monica Clark-Robinson YouTube Read Aloud
“Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told,” by Walter Dean Myers YouTube Read Aloud
“Frederick Douglass: Last Days of Slavery,” by William Miller YouTube Read Aloud
“Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-ins,” by Carole Boston-Weatherford
“Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt,” by Deborah Hopkinson YouTube Read Aloud
“Moses: When Harriet Tubman led her People to Freedom,” by Carole Boston-Weatherford YouTube Read Aloud
“Pink, Blue, and You!,” by Elise Gravel with Mykaell Blais
“I Am Jazz,” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings YouTube Read Aloud
“Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” by Rob Sanders YouTube Read Aloud
“Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution,” by Rob Sanders YouTube Read Aloud
Middle Grades LGBTQ+ Family-Friendly Books, a list from Family Equality
“Fred Korematsu Speaks Up,” by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi
“Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice,” by Veronica Chambers
“Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis
“I Am Not a Number,” by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer YouTube Read Aloud
“Rosa,” by Nikki Giovanni YouTube Read Aloud
“Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” by Anastasia Higginbotham YouTube Read Aloud
“Hana’s Suitcase,” by Karen Levine
“Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story,” by Ken Mochizuki YouTube Read Aloud
“Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker,” by Patricia Hruby Powell
“The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust,” by Karen Gray Ruelle
“Shannen and the Dream for a School,” by Janet Wilson
“Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter,” by Shani King YouTube Read Aloud
“Pride: An Inspirational History of the LGBTQ+ Movement,” by Stella Caldwell
Young Adult LGBTQ Family-Friendly Books, a list from Family Equality
“We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March,” by Cynthia Levinson
“All American Boys,” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
If you want to expand your own knowledge there are lots of books, articles, people to follow on social media, and other resources.
Teaching Tolerance Links – resources for educators and others who want to teach tolerance.
Scaffolding Anti-racism Resources – a list of resources organized in an attempt to make them more accessible.
LGBTQ Family Books for Adults, a list from Family Equality
Southington Women for Progress – a women’s action group committed to making Southington a more just and equitable place for all residents. There are events and additional resources on their website and social media pages.
Southington PRIDE – committed towards building a future where everyone in our community has equitable access to the resources they need for lifelong success. They believe that by amplifying the voices of minorities and vulnerable populations; our community can work together on creating a more equitable future.