Welcome Back to a New Season!
Thank you so much for tuning into the most recent issue of our Equity Kids newsletter! Here at Equity Kids we hope that the past few months have found you well and that you have remained mindful of race and diversity issues in your schools, communities, and social spaces. As we continue through the year, we ask you to continue pursuing further knowledge and applying that knowledge to how you interact with the members of your communities and your peers. Visit our website to learn more about our programs and how you can get involved!
As we reflect on the incredible journey we’ve shared, we’re thrilled to celebrate the impactful moments that have shaped our recent past. Throughout the summer, we had the honor of collaborating with the Menchaca Branch of the Austin Public Library, where our workshops ignited thoughtful conversations about racial and social justice among young minds. This May marked the conclusion of our first class designed for children aged 4 to 7, where we wrapped up with an exciting ‘Action Day’ of everyone donating to a local children’s shelter.
Just this month we’ve partnered with an exciting new organization, the Hancock Recreation Center, where we’ve geared up to offer workshops for children aged 7-10 that will last through the fall. These workshops will be a semester-long exploration of empowerment, fostering understanding and change.
But that’s not all — our horizons are expanding even further. We’re thrilled to share that we’re continuing to collaborate with greater Austin area schools and non-profits, where we can host our classes in both middle schools and elementary schools. The potential to nurture young minds on a larger scale fuels our passion for progress and equity.
HOW CAN I HELP?
It’s that time of year where we’re reaching out for your help to acquire some of the resources we and the children and youth we’re serving will need to participate in Equity Kids’ programs this year — items that many of our participating kids’ families cannot afford. Your donations will help equip our facilitators with art supplies, white boards, games, newsprint, snacks, and other resources like tablets for the facilitators and internet hotspots for children with unreliable internet connections at home. Please visit this link to donate!
WE’RE STILL ALL LEARNING
Each newsletter we will highlight a story of how unawareness or racial bias has affected a member of the community. In this story we explore a young, black pre-school student within the central Austin area in an altercation with a white student which ended in a small injury to the black student.
The teachers at the preschool have, primarily, also been white, and had regarded the black student’s mother as that of a “tiger mom”, to the point where most were afraid to even contact her about the incident. Eventually, a newer, also black, teacher was willing to make the call. When the call was made, the mother was informed of what happened to her child, that her child seemed to be in good spirits despite the incident, and the mom was given a detailed account of the child’s behavior following the incident. To the surprise of most of the staff, the mother took the information in stride, and was satisfied with the explanation given.
When speculating as to why the mother had completely changed her tune in how she dealt with the staff, the black teacher explained that the child in question was the only black child in her class, and that as a dark-skinned black woman in America, the mother had an inherent fear that her child would be left behind or forgotten about in favor of the white students’ needs. When hearing from a teacher who shared the same skin color as her child and who paid attention to the child’s physical wellbeing as well as to how the child’s psyche was affected, the mother felt at ease knowing that there was somebody there looking out for her kid.
As we explore different cultures, it’s important to acknowledge how generational trauma and societal pressure give people of color generational PTSD and activate a consistent fight or flight response. Part of easing that response is recognizing the ways that people of color are pushed to the side and acknowledging that, while we may not participate in outward racism or even microaggressions on a personal level, that is not inherently obvious, and people of color often times end up feeling on edge when they are in situations where they are the only ones who share their culture and skin color.
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS!
Equity Kids takes great pride in our work, and we would like to acknowledge some of the people behind making our mission possible.
Orleana Edwards is the mother of two elementary school-aged children. Orleana became involved in racial and social justice activities as a young person volunteering with organizations such as the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace fellowship focused on human and civil rights issues through advocacy, activism, and educational programs and the American Friends Service Committee, an organization that works worldwide to challenge injustice and build sustainable peace with justice. As an adult, Orleana has worked with organizations serving youth and as a home healthcare worker for the elderly. In addition to her service on the Equity Kids board of directors, she has worked with her church’s youth ministry.
Levi Bagwell was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University and received M.S. degrees in Accounting and Engineering Management. Levi worked in public accounting in Dallas, where he specialized in the real estate and energy industries as well as individual and non-profit taxation. He is a Certified Public Accountant and now works in Amarillo in the energy industry.