I don’t know about y’all, but I need a dose of inspiration. With all that’s happening in the world and the way people’s pain in our own country and abroad are being politicized, compared and contrasted or completely devalued, I want to offer a respite. Rather than wallow in a sense of overwhelming hopelessness (ahem, am I the only one?!), why not focus instead on how individual action can impact positive change.
I’m really excited for you to get to know Sachi Feris; mother, teacher and author/organizer behind Raising Race Conscious Children. Sachi talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to raising racially and socially conscious children. Through her writing and website, she models how to speak to children about race as well as provides ample resources for parents looking to engage their children in similar ways. I reference her work regularly on A Striving Parent and I’ve learned much by reading her blog posts and participating in her workshops.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a blogger at Raising Race Conscious Children, an online a resource to support adults who are trying to talk about race with young children. I currently teach Spanish to Kindergarten and 1st graders at an independent school in Brooklyn, NY. I identify as White and live in Brooklyn with my husband, three-year-old daughter and newborn son.
As a parent, what’s your favorite part of living in your city?
I have always valued NYC’s diversity–and though I attended de facto segregated schools growing up here (and, of course, schools remain segregated) I feel fortunate to live in a neighborhood (as an adult) that is diverse based on race, class and family structure, and that has a bunch of options for schools that reflect this diversity. I also love NYC’s walkability!
What are your passion projects or in what ways do you engage with your local and/or national community?
Right now, my “passion project” is Raising Race Conscious Children–I am new to blogging but am finding that it is a way to connect with other parents nation-wide (and locally!) who are struggling to talk about race with their children as well as take action as a family towards racial justice. My goal is to create an online community with many voices supporting a race-conscious framework for talking to children, in the hopes that the next generation will not grow up with the colorblind mentality that has been so much a part of U.S. history. Only by being race conscious, and naming and acknowledging race (and inequities based on race), can we do something to shift the power dynamics around race in this country. I have also been inspired by Showing Up For Racial Justice’s community of parents around racial justice.
What inspired you to create Raising Race Conscious Children?
Raising Race Conscious Children was born out of transferring my beliefs and passions as an educator to my parenting. As an educator involved in anti-racist, social justice work, I always relied on curriculum as the prompt for talking about race. As a parent, there was no “curriculum.” I realized that parents could either make a choice to be race conscious…or be color-blind. I was inspired to begin blogging via Raising Race Conscious Children to create models for parents who want to be race conscious with their children–and, moreover, to create a community of voices modeling a race conscious practice.
What’s your favorite part of being civically engaged?
Through the blog, I have “met” so many people across the country working toward the same goal–it feels empowering and exciting to know that I am not alone in this work (particularly in parenting a race conscious child) and that many, many other people believe in raising a race conscious child.
Any words of wisdom for parents wanting to create space for civic engagement in their own busy lives?
Start where you can. Do one small thing every day. Start with the words you use that can either reproduce social inequities or break them down (re: race, gender, class, etc.)
Pretty awesome, right? Sachi is doing critical work that has positively impacted myself and my family as well as countless others. Her commitment to combatting racial injustice inspires me and fills me with hope for our country. There are many people wanting to change the systems of inequality in the United States and Sachi is helping those that are parents start within the context of their own families.
While I’m not personally religious, my Dad always says in hard times to “keep the faith”. For me, that “faith” represents the recognition of compassionate individuals who can and do create positive changes every single day. Thank you to all of you who are striving to make our world better, in ways big and small. I remain steadfast in my belief that brighter days lay ahead.