It is important to equip children with the language to discuss the current events and social movements around them. This topic seeks to address common questions children might have about the current ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown Jr., and other Black Americans.
Before you watch this video with your child, please read the following:
Your children might have been hearing about huge demonstrations in cities across the country and around the world. The protests are in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Black Lives Matter” is both a rallying cry at the protests and a human rights organization that demands an end to violence against Black people in America. It began in 2013 when three Black activists, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, used the hashtag after Trayvon Martin’s killer went unpunished. It became a mass protest movement in 2014 when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. It has continued to fight against structural racism and its effects in our society.
Preview the video before watching it with young children.
Prepare to acknowledge kids’ anxieties and fear, but also reassure them that many people are working very hard to change things and keep them safe. It’s important to give children hope.
Prepare to give them hope by offering tools to work with. Explain that mass protest movements—from Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage to Black Lives Matter—have historically been able to change institutions and systems. Assure them that society can continue to improve.
Black Lives Matter Protests by BrainPop
In this episode of ‘The Mysteries of Life’, Nat and Noby respond to Amir’s question: “why are so many people protesting about racism? I thought we fixed all that stuff a long time ago.” Use this movie to teach your children about the mass protests that have been happening in cities around the world.
After watching the video, consider the following questions to start conversation:
Although we made a lot of progress during the Civil Rights Era, interpersonal racism still exists. What is interpersonal racism?
What is structural racism? How is it different from interpersonal racism?
Who is George Floyd? Why were people protesting?
Why might some TV news focus on the most sensational aspect of a news story? Share a story where the news
The Black Lives Matter hashtag started in response to an unjust verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin and was created by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza, who were mothers of Black people who were unjustly killed. Why did Black Lives Matter become a movement? What are the protests calling for?
How have movements and protests made changes in history? Why do many activists believe that discomfort is necessary for society to change?
How have kids, like Mari Copeny, Emma Gonzalez, Malala Yousefzai, Greta Thunberg, and Darnella Frazier, inspired adults to make change?
Continue learning about how racial justice and protests in sports and around the world have made change. In addition, try out some of the practices with your child, such as calling or emailing your local representatives or Congressperson, or starting a letter-writing campaign, or raising money for a cause.
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