Resources to Affirm Our Students’ Race Through Reading

This year, 11-year-old Marley Dias gained national fame for starting #1000BlackGirlBooks. The campaign was created to collect 1000 books that featured Black girls as the main character and not in a supporting role. Marley told the Huffington Post, "I was frustrated... in fifth grade where I wasn't reading [books with] a character that I could connect with.”

 

Chances are Marley is not alone in her frustrations. According to a study by the Cooperative Children Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, only 11% of the books published in 2014 featured an African-American, Native American, Asian American, or Latino as a main character.

 

As an educator or a parent this makes finding literature to affirm the backgrounds of our children and young adults a daunting task. To make this easier Elevating Equity has compiled our five favorite book lists that feature people of color as the main or supporting character.

 

 

As a bonus, we also suggest you download the app, We Read Too, which showcases over 500 books written by authors of color and featuring characters of color.  

 

While Marley announced she’ll donate the books she collected to a library in her mother’s hometown in Jamaica, we hope you’ll find a book you love and donate it to a student of color in your own hometown or classroom.  

Moving Beyond Resolutions & Promising Equity

Every January it’s customary to make a New Year’s resolution to change an aspect of your life. This year, as the founder of Elevating Equity, I’m moving beyond resolutions and making a promise. I promise to create spaces for educators and community members to examine race and ensure every child receives an equitable education.

 

As I’ve shared my promise with friends, family members, and fellow educators I’ve been asked the question, “Why focus on race?” The answer to this question lies in news stories from 2015.

 

·      Muslim 9th Grader Arrested for Bringing Clock to School

·      Video Shows Cop Body-Slamming High School Student in South Carolina

·      Racial Tension and Protest on Campuses Across the Country  

·      Court Divided Over University of Texas Race-Conscious Admissions

·      Black Students Disproportionately Suspended in North Carolina

 

According to a nationwide poll conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation 49% of Americans believe racism is a big problem in our society. Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows that nearly four in 10 Americans think race relations are getting worse. 

 

Despite evidence that race is a determining factor (whether consciously or subconsciously) in how our students are treated, it remains a topic that most avoid. Discussing the impact race has on our lives and our actions can be challenging and uncomfortable particularly in the education setting. Yet as educators, parents, and community members we bare the responsibility of ensuring the success of every student. This can’t be done without addressing their academic, social, and societal needs.

 

In 2016, Elevating Equity would love to partner with you to design and facilitate conversations about race and support you by providing recommendations for how to promote equity for all stakeholders.

 

Contact us if 2016 is the year you’re ready to ensure every child receives an equitable education.