At Kids Create Change we strongly believe that our young people are at the heart of social justice work. Our goal is to work with young people to address the many challenges our community faces by inviting them to the table and hearing their voices, by sharing with them our knowledge and tools so they feel empowered and equipped to self-advocate and activate, and to support them as they discover the power they have to make a difference and explore how they can be change agents in their own community.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Antiracism
Diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and antiracism are words and concepts that are mainstreaming right now, as the media is flooded with stories and images of racial violence and protests for equity and justice. For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has also illuminated how the fundamental structures of our society were designed to favor whiteness, affluence and able-bodiedness, and oppress black, brown, indigenous people of color (BBIPOC), and deprecate those experiencing poverty, disability, and any social identity that is deemed a deviation from the 'norm.' The parallels of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of racism are undeniable. The revitalization of the civil rights movement, grassroots initiatives, and antiracism work locally and globally offers hope for a future where all people have equal access to education, training, opportunity, income, physical and mental health resources, protection and safety. The dawning of understanding, search for knowledge, and motivation to truly take action and make change are among the rare positive results from current events, and the increase of civic engagement and activism is momentous. Young people have not only been part of these movements but at the forefront as leaders and voices for our future. Even amidst the current administration's attack on critical race theory, antiracism education, and DEI training calling them "an existential threat to the United States,” there is a commitment to moving forward not backwards and our work at Kids Create Change is aligned with these values of equity and social justice. By offering knowledge, skills and opportunities for young people to engage in self-advocacy and activism to affect real social justice.
How Do We Do This?
We firmly believe that antiracism begins on day one. What infants and toddlers see, hear, and mirror in their interactions with others and in their play is where it all starts. Are they seeing people different from them in their world? Are they playing with toys and reading board books that feature people and characters of multiple identities and representing different races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, and family make-ups? And most importantly, are they witnessing your interactions and experiences with people of many different representations? From there, the learning and experiences around racial and social equity develop through childhood and into adulthood. The work is ongoing and as adults who are raising and working with kids we are tasked with doing work on ourselves and with the young people in our lives. Together, we believe we can teach, support, and inspire our young people to feel empowered to take action in big and small ways that make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
Everyone comes to this work from different places. For some it's a new foray into reading books about privilege and power, race and equity, and for others it's part of a life long dedication to learning and understanding critical race theory and social justice work. For many, there is no choice, this is their lived experience and their work includes survival and healing from trauma. Wherever you land on this continuum, there are many different ways to approach social justice work and endless entry points depending on where you're at.
We invite you to check out our resources to see if there is anything that can support you in your process:
There are booklists for kids of all ages and adults, podcasts, videos, and articles. We offer ideas for activities and projects that encourage creative ways for young people to learn and grow as socially conscious, civic-minded, empowered members of the community, and resources for adults who work with and support them.
“Rather than standing or speaking for children, we need to stand with children speaking for themselves. We don’t need a political movement for children… we need to build environments and policies for our collective future.”
- Sandra Meucci
National Youth-Led March Against Gun-Violence, Washington, DC 2018
Local Youth-Led March Against Racism, Evanston, IL 2020
Community Peace Offering, Evanston, IL 2020