At Nurture Life’s core, we stand for healthy futures. But as long as racial injustice exists, we cannot deliver on this mission. To build healthy futures, we believe we need to not just nurture young bodies, but also young minds. This includes building an honest conversation about the world around us. For some, these conversations have been instilled from first words. For others, this is all new. No matter where your family is at, we want to offer some guidance in bringing the conversation on race forward. Because we believe that what we teach in the home has real effects on the world. We hope these resources can help your family have open and honest discussions on how to be actively anti-racist and effectively build healthier futures for all.
A Note on Acknowledging Race
Green, orange, purple—we teach our children to see colors on their plates and the importance of every color in nurturing their bodies. But when it comes to skin color, we often forget that these colors need to be taught too. There is a strong body of research showing that it’s not just “Treat all skin colors equally.” It’s, “We are the same, but we are different. Different skin colors lead to different experiences, and we need to work to change the forces that make our experiences different.”
Acknowledging skin color isn’t a bad thing. In fact, acknowledging it is the only way to overcome the systemic issues black people face. So as you read this guide, remember that these conversations can feel uncomfortable. But our discomfort is a small price to pay in the path to racial justice.
Resources for Those Just Starting
If you’re new to these discussions, these resources offer a great place to start.
- Article: 5 Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children
- Article: They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race
- Podcast: Talking Race with Young Children
- E-book: Beyond the Golden Rule
Resources that Tell Representative Stories
With adults, studies have shown that showing positive images of people of another race can effectively reduce biases. A similar study in children presented mirrored results, suggesting that exposing children to diverse stories can help create a more positive view of those that have different colored skin than their own. The stories below feature characters of color to offer a mirror in which black children can see themselves and non-black children can be exposed to those different from themselves.
- Book: “Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly
- Book: “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry
- Book: “The Airport Book” by Lisa Brown
- Book: “I Am Enough” by Grace Byers
- Book: “Princess Hair” by Sharee Miller
- Book: “When’s My Birthday?” By Julia Fogliano
- Book: “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña
- Book: “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats
- Book: “Corduroy” by Don Freeman
Resources for Your Youngest
Research suggests that starting early matters—children can develop racial biases by the time they’re three years old. Here are some resources that help introduce race to your child in their earliest years.
- Book: “The Anti-Racist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi
- Book: “A is for Activist” by Innosanto Nagara
- Book: “The Skin You Live In” by Michael Tyler
Resources for Parents Still Learning
Before we can fully teach our children how to be anti-racist, parents need to take the time to teach themselves. Here are a few resources for diving deeper into your own understanding of race.
- Article: White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy
- Video: Systemic Racism Explained
- Book: “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
- Book: “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
- Book: “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo
Resources for Those Looking to Donate
Sometimes you want to put dollars behind the cause. Here are a few organizations doing the work.
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund: Legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.
- Equal Justice Initiative: Human rights and legal organization committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
- Southern Poverty Law Center: Legal organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
- American Civil Liberties Union: Civil rights and legal organization that works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country.
- Embrace Race: Education organization focused on identifying, organizing and creating tools, resources, discussion spaces and networks to help create systems of authentic racial inclusion.
- Black Girls Code: Community organization organizing workshops and after-school programs to introduce computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities, helping them become the programmers of tomorrow.
What Nurture Life is Doing
Beyond creating resources for our families, Nurture Life is committing to help create lasting change. As a young start-up located in Chicago, we believe we can have the biggest impact by focusing a majority of our efforts in our own backyard, getting healthy meals to those who need them. Here are our commitments:
- We are donating meals weekly to the Lakeview Food Pantry, Chicago’s largest food dispensary. Today, 11.1% of households in our country are food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to meet the needs of all the members of their household due to insufficient money or other resources. 21.2% of black households are food insecure, about 10% higher than the national average. Our meals help serve these most affected communities. Since the beginning of this year, we have donated over $30,000 worth of meals and we are just getting started.
- Many grocery and convenience stores have been forced to close due to the recent looting. In addition to our weekly food pantry donations, we are donating meals to community organizations distributing food and supplies in local communities that have been the most impacted.
- We will be matching employee donations up to $10,000, donating to the organizations listed above.
- In addition to our employee matching donations, we have already donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, America’s premier organization fighting for racial injustice.
We know the work doesn’t stop here, but we hope that this guide and our contributions can help move the cause forward. If you’d like to share your own favorite resources with us, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.