RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - During Black History Month, we celebrate Black voices and Black leaders in history, and we are also reminded that inclusion matters.
The 2019 teacher of the year, Rodney Robinson, has a few ideas to teach inclusion at home.
No doubt, race, fairness, social justice and what is right have all been at the forefront of conversation in the last year, and most children likely have some questions.
“It’s really important that we understand their feelings,” said Robinson. “That we get to understand their emotions. And then once we do that, we need to go back and talk about the history and how the country has advanced. How democracy is something you have to fight for - it’s not something that you’re given. It’s important to empower them and help them understand their role in fighting for democracy, and it’s really important that our students know they matter. Their voices matter.”
He also says it’s important to teach children that the voices of people of color matter - to understand that we all live in a diverse world with diverse cultures.
“I think it’s important to have older kids drive the conversation,” said Robinson. “Since they’ve been kids, they’ve been inspired by information 24/7 so it’s really important to see what they say. Sometimes you’ll be shocked that they’ll say they have bigger, more grandiose ideas of race than you ever could have imagined. But sometimes, if they don’t have those ideas they do as a parent or guardian, we have to supplement and try to navigate them toward an open mindset.”
Teaching your kids inclusivity can start in the home. Robinson likes books like, “How to Be an Anti-Racist” or works by James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.
He says to turn on a Ted Talk, like “The Danger of a Single Narrative.” Netflix documentaries can also be a great resource.
He also suggests going into the city to learn as a family. Learning history can help your children understand different perspectives, which will help them learn to live inclusive lives.
“I like Richmond’s history of struggle,” said Robinson. “This is a story that has been far from perfect. But it’s a city where people have always stood up and demanded the best for the people and for the city, and I really love the fact that we have the history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. We have Lumpkin’s Slave Jail (also known as The Devil’s Half Acre). We are more than our circumstances. That we are going to push to overcome.”
Remember, lead by example. When you introduce your family to diverse ideas and experiences, you show your kids by example.
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