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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.
Ezra Jack Keats’s books about Peter (“The Snowy Day,” “A Letter to Amy,” “Hi, Cat!,” “Whistle for Willie”)
“Reach,” by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis
“What’s the Difference?: Being Different Is Amazing,” by Doyin Richards 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
“Secret of the Dance,” by Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow
“Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-ins,” by Carole Boston-Weatherford
“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
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
“Hana’s Suitcase,” by Karen Levine
“Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker,” by Patricia Hruby Powell
“Shannen and the Dream for a School,” by Janet Wilson
“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.