With the arrival of Black History Month, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I, as a white mom, can honor and celebrate this month with my daughter. Over this past year, we have had a lot of opportunities for big conversations surrounding what it truly means when we say “Black Lives Matter.” Raising a white child in the middle of a time of so much social unrest has given me a strong desire to make sure we are intentional with our support of the BLM movement and not just buying a shirt because it’s the trendy thing to do.
We are raising our daughter in a very diverse area of town. She has already learned how fun it is to have friends who don’t all look like you, speak like you, or even worship like you. How great to learn about other religions and holidays by hearing how your friends celebrate? What better way to learn how to speak another language than to do so because you want to talk to your friend?
We have talked about Ruby Bridges and explained that not so long ago some of her very best friends wouldn’t have even been allowed to go to school with her. We have explained that some of her friends have moms who have to worry about their husbands and sons when they leave the house just because some people are afraid of men with dark skin.
We are working hard at being open and intentional with our discussions about race.
The following are five of the ways we plan to further our conversation during Black History Month.
Especially over this last year, while many small businesses are struggling during the pandemic, we are making sure we spend our money at local Black-owned businesses when we can. Some of our favorites are The New Dime Store in Brookside (a great place to find unique and quirky gifts) and Bliss Books & Wine (you know I’m already pre-ordering Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb: Poems” and “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem“).
Admittedly, we have ordered a lot of carryout during these last twelve months. We have made it a point to support our local Black-owned eateries. We love Kitchen III in Raytown, and of course, Yogurtini is a family favorite.
We love books! And we really love that there are so many awesome kids’ books that feature people of color. Yea for inclusion! We absolutely love the Little Dreamers/Little Leaders Collection. We are planning on reading “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History“ all month long. The illustrations are adorable, and I love that each chapter inspires my daughter to ask to learn more about each person.
Sometimes, the best way to help is to just donate money. There are many wonderful charities and organizations that help support the Black community in Kansas City. The Black Community Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation gives money to over 200 nonprofits and gives out multiple scholarships each year. Kansas City G.I.F.T. provides grants to Black-owned businesses in Kansas City, with a particular focus on those that operate in low income areas.