What Readers Have to Say
Review by Julia M. REffner
Berkfield, a social justice training facilitator, and co-founder of the Root Social Justice Center, has written this volume with five co-authors, including Chrissy Colon-Bradt, director of equity and inclusion at an independent school, and Leila Raven, a prison abolition organizer. Each chapter starts with questions for reflection that can be used as starting points for further conversation with kids. the book teaches how to build seven social justice principles into discussion and action, and then shows how to apply these principles to racial, economic, gender, and disability justice. Berkfield asserts that people gain personal power when their personal needs are met; then violence, addiction, and isolation can begin to abate. VERDICT: A must-have in the field of anti-bias education. This works gives ideas about having conversations with young people about social justice and then putting knowledge into action.
Marisa Soboleski, white cis- deaf mother of two children, age 11 (DeafBlind) and age 8 (CODA, Child of Deaf Adult), New Mexico
As a white cis- deaf mother of two children (age 11 DeafBlind and age 8 CODA, Child of Deaf Adult), navigating the world of parenthood can sometimes be a complex tangle of mass...or even mess. To me, the visceral need to support my young children in becoming more aware, empathic human beings in this world is immense. While I'm often unlearning, learning, and re-learning much of the information we were conditioned with while growing up (both consciously and unconsciously), I hope the process becomes easier for my children so that we can contribute to a more equal world for everyone. And often, I'm not sure how to help guide them through this process. Now, this amazing, thorough book is full of examples, dialogue, and tools. My biggest disappointment is that this book didn't come out when my children were younger! This is a must-read for every family pursuing social justice in their communities.
Robin MacArthur, parent of children ages 8 and 11, Vermont
In this time of radical uncertainty and change, when nearly every day I ask myself 'yes, but what can I DO?' this book arrived at my door as a road map, a grounding rod and a much-needed guide for how to craft conversations and take action. I’m a better parent, caregiver and human because of this book, whose pages contain the seeds for an equitable, bright and beautiful future.
Sha Grogan-Brown (shown below), anti-racist white queer trans dad of a 5 year old in Washington DC (Piscataway & Anacostan land)
At a historic moment when we are reckoning at a global scale with the rise of the right, the deep inequities of racialized patriarchal capitalism, white supremacy, anti-blackness and misogyny amidst a horrific global pandemic and inspiring widespread Black-led uprisings for justice, this book is a welcome resource for those of us who are striving to equip our children to understand and process the state of the world around them, to engage and take action as young people today, and to prepare them for the future that lays ahead of them.
Amy Bailey, white Christian middle-class female WHO parents children ages 15 and 12 in Sacramento, California
Parenting for Social Justice provides a safe place to support your own social justice learning process and the tools necessary to transfer that learning to your children. The book leads you on a journey of your own self-discovery of identity and privilege and affirms that you do not need to be an expert to lead your kids through their own discovery. The many resources, including personal reflection prompts, conversation starters, book and video recommendations, and much more, have made the process of teaching my children about social justice issues more intentional and natural.
Emily, white queer cis woman with a 3-y-o child, Vermont
I am a white queer cis woman living in Vermont with my 3-y-o child and my cis male partner. I am active in my community’s racial justice organizing group and am always seeking new resources for talking with my kiddo about race and racial justice. I was raised with very little information and dialogue about racism; I feel like I am re-parenting myself as I learn and practice new ways to understand and talk about race, white supremacy, and colonization. I am really excited about this book, as it is full of thought-provoking and accessible political education, personal stories, reflection questions, engaging activities, and real examples of dialogues with kids about race. This is the much-needed parenting resource I have been looking for!
Ann, former educator and now stay-at-home parent of a 2-, 5- and 8-year-old in Sartell, Minnesota
This text brought me awareness about separation tendencies, and I am wanting to learn more about how to be a supportive adult who helps kids and myself overcome those feelings and make meaningful connections.
I find the personal vignettes particularly helpful as a parent. These examples spark ideas for me on how to bring discussion of racial injustice into our everyday life, while the reflection pieces showcase imperfection and growth for all. It made me feel ready to try, just try, instead of aiming for a perfect delivery with my child. I found the personal stories from people of color to be especially helpful to gain insights into others' experiences of how racial injustices have impacted lives. Living and raising a family in a privileged community, we have limited access to these voices and need help beginning the conversation with authentic stories.
As a former educator, I think this book is a meaningful resource for classroom teachers. It provides assistance for teachers to notice separation behaviors in children and offers supportive dialogue to encourage them to find connections in one another. Teachers have consistent access to our children and impact how they see themselves and others in the world. This is a necessary tool for educators to help them unravel their own bias and injustices in order to help dismantle the system of societal injustice.
Robyn Johnson, upper-middle-class white mother to two grown kids
This is the encouraging, in-depth and practical guidance I wished for when I was raising my children decades ago. Berkfield and all of the Parenting for Social Justice authors offer support and help for how to naturally empower our children in social justice awareness and action—in opportunities through “real time” moments. This is a book about action through discovery: how parents and children can, together, face human injustice and cruelty in the context of relationship, learning, compassion, and wisdom. I am moved and inspired by the love, hope, and courage underlying the narrative in this timely, sensitive book of resilience. Highly recommended for parents and all people!
Dina (Greek-American), shown below with her wife Margaret and children Piper (7) and Mateo (5) in their middle-income village of Piermont, NEW york
Many folks are visioning a different future and want to proactively undo racism and the harm that it has caused but are unsure how to approach it. This book is an important tool for helping adult caregivers in that process. It provides such an important frame for understanding justice as a concept of systems and structures, while guiding self-reflection and action in a most thoughtful, relatable, and engaging way! To quote the book, “We don’t have to have this all figured out before we talk with our kids. We don't have to have answers. Courage, sincerity, and the willingness to learn with our kids is enough.”
Robin Morgan, With kids ages 3, 9, ANd 13, Vermont
As one of the original participants of the Parenting for Social Justice workshops, I found these chapters so illuminating! Every question I've had about what to talk about, when, and how is explored in depth and so much more that I never even thought to consider. It's such an incredible framework for deepening my personal commitment to anti-racism as well as my parenting. Instead of feeling daunted about handling this weighty topic, I actually feel really excited to put this into action with my family!
iliah Grant Altoro, 3 kids, Minnesota
As a mother and social justice advocate, I'm often asked the 'hows' of raising socially conscious children by parents. Parenting 4 Social Justice is an incredible and heartfelt guide to intentional parenting, that teaches individuals how to raise a new generation of young activists.
-Iliah Grant Altoro is a writer, activist, traveler and mother to three badass critical thinkers. She is the founder of Negra Bohemian, a community dedicated to revolutionary mothering, intentional travel, raising global learners and decolonized faith. www.negrabohemian.com
Chad Simmons, white cis male, parent of child age 4, Vermont
I was struck by the raw and engaging way the book is personalized…and that it invited such breathtaking collaboration and vulnerability. Unlike with other parenting books, I didn't feel shamed or guilty for my shortcomings in the first five years; instead I felt ignited and alive. I feel like this book opened a door for me. Walking through, it provided me the confidence to be myself as a parent, to be creative, to make mistakes, and it reminded me to see parenting within the context of community rather than an individual family endeavor. The chapters energetically and authentically wove together wisdom from organizers, personal challenges and triumphs from parents and caregivers, and practical tools that shed the illusion of ‘perfect parenting,’ which blocks our ability to connect with our world and other humans embarking on this journey. I'm eager to engage other parents, kiddos and community members in the contents of the book and see how we can all work towards justice and joy together.