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For justice, healing, and liberation,
Excerpts from the Book
From the Forewords,
by Autumn brown and chris crass
“If we have any hope of changing the world and earning our right to remain here,
we are required to change our parenting. Instead of parenting towards a 'norm'
that keeps our children functional inside of supremacy, our call, our covenant with the
earth, must be to prepare our children to shape change. I encourage you to read
this important and timely book with an orientation of humility in the journey.”
—Autumn Brown, www.iambrown.org
"As a parent now, of two young white boys, I’m so grateful for this incredible book. Parenting 4 Social Justice is dynamite, a sacred offering, a manual and a blessing.
Dynamite to explode the nightmare logic of systemic oppression that rationalizes and normalizes brutal injustice. A sacred offering that brings together vast knowledge and wisdom from liberation movements, ancestors, contemporary thinkers, and the hearts of parents—just like you—who love their kids and want to end the nightmare and build the dream of beloved community. A manual full of helpful insights, stories, recommendations, reflection questions, and guided practices to ground us and sustain us.
And it is a blessing, as the authors invite us to be with them on this journey, equipping us and encouraging us to be parents joining together for social justice—for a world where all of our kids can get free in a society that loves, cherishes, and cares for all of us."
—Chris Crass, www.chriscrass.org
From the Introduction,
by Angela Berkfield
My feet are on stolen land. I am descended from settler-colonizers. All the clothes on my body and the computer in my hands are somehow connected to the extraction of resources from Mother Earth and the exploitation of the labor of people in the U.S. and all over the world. I recognize that reality. I acknowledge the suffering I am connected to. And yet, I have the deepest belief that another world is possible.
This book is dedicated to that world, a world we are co-creating right now through the ways we interact with each other and with all living beings around us: connected, loving, transforming, healing, regenerating, equitable, peaceful, just.
From chapter 3: Parenting for RAcial Justice, by Chrissy Colón Bradt and Angela Berkfield
Conversations about race and racism are challenging because they bring up our own traumas and experiences.
When we put into words the inequity and injustice we experience, see, and even participate in, we can feel a lot of emotions. In these conversations we also need to support our kids in navigating any emotions these conversations bring up for them. It helps to be honest with your children about what you know and how much more you have to learn. It also helps to be honest about your feelings and help them identify their feelings. Acknowledging and tending to the very powerful feelings that come up when engaging in racial justice work is important to sustaining engagement.
From chapter 4: Parenting for Economic justice,
by Jaimie Lynn Kessell and Angela Berkfield
It can be emotionally challenging to have cross-class friendships. In these relationships we are constantly confronted with the reality that we have more than or less than our friend. We bump up against our rough edges, our rigidity, our entitlement, our intense emotions, and our cultural differences.
Yet in many ways, cross-class friendships that are built on solidarity improve our lives. They prompt us to share and be generous. They teach us about reciprocity and mutuality. Cross-class friendships are a constant reminder that people are having different experiences in the world, keeping us humble and flexible. They caution us that capitalism is not working for the majority of people. They can remind us that we are more than our circumstances.
From Chapter 5: Parenting for Disability Justice, by Rowan Parker and Abigail Healey
Think about the qualities you praise in your children. If you find yourself praising them for what might be considered "innate abilities" such as intelligence, strength, or artistic talent, think about what you are saying about people with and without those abilities. Do you make it clear that you will support them in whatever they do, even if it does not line up with the values you were raised with?
Tom Drummond, a former professor of early childhood education in Seattle, Washington, suggests not praising your children at all. He suggests that adults should use narration, non-verbal positive communication, and informational feedback on children’s activities and accomplishments. Describing valued behavior reinforces a child’s choice to perform that behavior, and avoiding the use of praise focuses your child’s concentration on their behaviors and choices—which they can control—rather than their innate abilities, which they cannot control.
For example, instead of saying “good job, you’re so smart,” describe specific behaviors: “You turned the piece until it fit into the puzzle. You figured it out!”
Instead of saying “what a beautiful picture, you’re so talented,” describe the artwork: “I see that you used lots of colors in your painting. There is a red circle and a blue squiggle.”
on collective liberation,
by Amber Arnold, a parent Contributor
I believe in collective care and collective community. I believe that I am responsible for the care and love of all children on this earth. I do my best to remind myself that how I show up in the world isn't just about me, it’s about all of you and your babies too. When you hurt, I hurt and when I hurt, you hurt. None of us will be fully liberated when the other beings in our communities are still experiencing pain, oppression, and marginalization.
I believe that though I can't change the whole world, I am responsible for deeply loving, nourishing, and caring for my own body. By taking that seriously and practicing my own care I am embodying what I wish for my children and those around me and I am sharing that care with others.
What Readers Are Saying
"Parenting 4 Social Justice is an excellent resource for preparing young people to survive, thrive, build community and work for justice. It gives adults the tools they need to combine their love for our children with their love for the world. The authors’ stories are honest and insightful, the conversation examples are helpful and reassuring, the reading/listening/watching resources are invaluable, and the taking action suggestions are varied and doable. I’m excited to recommend this book to everyone who hangs out with young people and can’t wait to give out copies to parents, teachers and youth workers I know."
—Paul Kivel, educator, activist, author of Uprooting Racism and Boys Will Be Men: Raising Our Sons for Courage, Caring and Community, www.paulkivel.com
"Parenting 4 Social Justice is a great tool for parents committed to breaking the silence about 'isms' in our society, bringing together a rich collection of resources, real-life examples, and guided opportunities for reflection. Wherever you are in your social justice journey, there is something here for you to learn."
—Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, president emerita of Spelman College, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, www.beverlydanieltatum.com
Louise Derman-Sparks, author of Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves
Young children begin to form their ideas about who they are and about diversity among people at an early age. This learning process is deeply influenced by the prejudices that circulate in our society. Parenting 4 Social Justice offers numerous ways for families to raise children who have empathy for people across our many kinds of diversity and have tools for standing up for fairness and justice.
Parenting 4 Social Justice offers parents a creative roadmap for raising socially-minded kids. Through the book's realistic prompts and examples of actual conversations, parents can learn to navigate and embrace talking (and taking action!) with their children on topics that may be uncomfortable but are timely and needed.
Stevie, White, heterosexual, middle-class raised parent to kids age 11 and 7, FL
Parenting 4 Social Justice helped me tackle the difficult conversations I wanted to have with my children but didn’t know how to get started. It made me think on a fundamental level about my own beliefs on race, class, gender, ability, capitalism and so much more (along with their interconnections). I got lost in the stories and perspectives and ended up realizing this is much more than tips to help kids, it is just as much a guidebook for adults to reflect on these issues as well. Highly recommended!