Last Updated: June 24, 2020
Table of Contents
- For ages 0–4 years old
- For ages 5–9 years old
- For ages 10–15 years old
- For 15 years old and up
- Additional recommended resources
Hundreds of thousands of people in the US and around the world are headed to the streets with signs, slogans, and concrete policy demands to raise awareness of the many injustices facing the Black community and to demand change.
Our LGBTQ+ Families for Black Lives toolkit seeks to empower families to deepen their anti-racism work through tangible, age-appropriate action ranging from coloring book pages to writing elected officials. It is our hope that with this toolkit, you may start or continue conversations in your household and community that will carry on long after these protests and hashtags end.
Of course, we encourage you to boost this toolkit on social media using the hashtag #LGBTQFamiliesForBlackLives. You can also take immediate action to fight for an end to police brutality here.
Download the toolkit
For Our Littles
(0–4 years old)
No one is too young to learn about anti-racism! In the past, many parents have assumed that the best approach to addressing race with young kids is to ignore it altogether. But little ones are curious, and observing differences is one of the first critical thinking skills they develop. The caretaker’s task is to lay the groundwork for compassion and tolerance by celebrating these differences, not ignoring or avoiding mention of them.
Tackling complex topics like race and racism with really young children can be both easy and exciting! And it is so important to start these conversations early, while a child’s brain and how they perceive the world around them are rapidly developing.
Consider the following activities for facilitating anti-racist discussions with your Littles:
🖍️ Break out the crayons and get coloring!
Our #LGBTQFamiliesforBlackLives coloring sheets are a fun way to get the conversation started. Click on the links below to download the sheets and print. (And don’t forget to share their beautiful creations with the world using #LGBTQFamiliesforBlackLives!)
⚠️ Start with “Safe.”
We all deserve to feel safe. With storytimes and discussion questions, Woke Kindergarten is reimagining what engaging, racially just learning for Littles (and adults!) can look like, and their 60-second text exploring what the word “safe” means is a great gateway to talking about a number of complex issues. As you watch with your little one, answer Ki’s questions out loud:
- What makes you feel safe?
- Who makes you feel safe, and why?
- Why do some people feel safe with police and other people don’t?
- What can you do to make sure other people feel safe?
📚 Sit down for storytime.
There are a number of stellar opportunities to learn from Black LGBTQ+ educators & content creators—and non-Black LGBTQ+ allies—whose job is finding creative, age-appropriate ways to talk about race with Littles. So before you settle down for naptime or while you’re enjoying some snacks, check out…
- “The Tutu Teacher,” aka Vera Ahiyya, who takes 13 minutes to talk about what racism is and how it has impacted the lives of Black and Brown people. Vera also reads the story Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester. Click here to watch.
- “Queer Kid Stuff,” aka Lindz Amer, has a whole playlist about privilege and identity, covering the basics of what diversity is and going all the way through to discussions of race, privilege, and intersectionality! Click here to start.
- Teaching Tolerance is a program out of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and their 3-minute video about intersectionality covers the basics of this complex topic. Click here to learn.
🔍 Have a scavenger hunt!
Recognizing and addressing diversity is the first step to celebrating it! Give your family a set amount of time and see who can find the highest number of…
- Different kinds of fruit
- Different colored legos
- Different kinds of stuffed animals
- Dolls with different hair color, skin color, size, and clothes
Use this as an opportunity to acknowledge that, just like all of the items they spotted in their scavenger hunt, people are different too. The way people look, talk, act, learn, walk, and live might be different, but those differences make them beautiful!
For Our Middles
(5–9 years old)
Because kids at this age have been exposed to more of what’s going on in the world through friends at school, conversations at home with other family members, or what they see on TV, they’re often having discussions about race without even realizing it. They’re already asking questions about fairness and differences, and they’re often eager for answers!
Consider the following activities for engaging in anti-racist conversations with your Middles.
🎨 Make public art!
Art is a long-standing form of activism. From graffiti to theatre, social movements throughout history have been fueled by art—and the uprisings of the summer of 2020 are no different!
Create a poster that can be hung in your window at home or a small masterpiece for your family’s car that tells the world that you and your family will not stand for injustice and unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter.
You could also grab some chalk and head outside! Draw on the sidewalk or the driveway—anywhere that others can see your family’s commitment to anti-racism! Remember that racism happens in public. By taking a clear stance, your family can show everyone around you that you believe in a world where Black people can live free of violence and fear; where everyone is treated with fairness and respect. Public art can truly change culture, and your children can be part of that change!
🎶 Have a dance party.
Alphabet Rockers make music that makes change, and by listening to their songs you can start valuable conversations with children about creating a more equitable world. In particular, give “Stand Up for You” a listen and work together to think about actions you can take to be in solidarity with folks who don’t look like you. Write your ideas down and vow to do two of them a week!
For Our Youth
(10-15 years old)
Kids at this age are beginning to cement their sense of identity, which means it’s more important than ever to actively engage them in anti-racist work. Of course, at this age, youth may be watching the news, scrolling through social media, and talking to friends about current events. Taking concrete action empowers them to make an impact on the world by contributing to a brighter future for us all.
Consider the following anti-racist activities for your 10–15-year-olds.
📩 Talk to your legislators!
You don’t need to be able to vote in order to advocate for change. Work with your youth to find and contact your elected officials and urge them to be more anti-racist!
- Learn more about what anti-racist policies look like by checking out the NAACP’s demands for criminal justice policy, economic policy, healthcare policy, and voting policy.
- Find your state and federal legislators here.
- Use our template (or create your own!) to write a letter demanding that lawmakers create policies that clearly show that Black lives matter, and if you feel comfortable, take a photo of the letter and post it online using #LGBTQFamiliesforBlackLives. You can also post the letter on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook, tagging your legislator there (in addition to sending the physical letter in the mail.
📗 Watch, listen, and read.
A crucial piece of anti-racist work is learning about the experiences of people of color. At the end of this toolkit, we’ve curated a list of books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and Instagram accounts by creators of color. Take a look at that list and have the young person in your life put a star next to the books, shows, and movies they’d be interested in watching. Then, create a calendar so that you’re setting aside time every week to consume and discuss those works. Don’t forget to allow time for discussion after experiencing the media; processing what they’ve seen is a critical way for young people to integrate the ideas presented into their lives.
🍋 Start a lemonade stand.
There’s no time-honored summer tradition quite like the lemonade stand, and learning not only how to raise money but how to give it back is so important for young people. Ask youth what they might want to sell (like homemade bracelets, drawings, baked goods…the sky is the limit!) and work with them to find a way to market virtually or from a safe distance with signs, social media, or phone calls to friends and family. Use the list of organizations at the end of this toolkit or find your own and empower youth to decide which anti-racist cause they want to give their profits to. Then…get selling!
For Young Adults
📣 Speak Out
Social media has become a major tool for this movement, and learning how to use social media to learn more and speak out is a valuable skill for young people to have! Sit down with your teen and review the following Instagram accounts. If your teen has a social media account already, ask them to pick out 3 or more posts from those accounts that they’d like to share with their own network to spread the word. If your teen doesn’t have an account, take the time to recognize which posts spark further discussion with them and delve deeper into research on those topics or themes.
Recommended accounts to explore together:
- @Ava, aka Ava DuVernay, creator of When They See Us, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time, Selma, and much, much more.
- @blklivesmatter is the official Instagram account for the #BlackLivesMatter Global Network.
- @ckyourprivilege, founded my Myisha Thill, features a series of resources to help people on their journey to dismantle their relationship with systems of domination.
- @Ibramxk aka Ibram Kendi, New York Times best-selling author, National Book Award Winner, and director of the Center for Antiracist Research.
- @ohhappydani, aka Danielle Coke, uses her art, words, and platform to talk about racial justice.
It may be the case that your teen is a person of color who has wanted to share their experiences with you in a safe space, or that they are otherwise already very aware of the movement for Black lives. Work to create a conversation where you aren’t simply “teaching” your teen about this movement, but where you’re also allowing yourself to listen to and learn from them. Sometimes young adults don’t feel that their parents value their thoughts and opinions; this is a perfect opportunity to shift that dynamic (and it’s likely you’ll learn something from them along the way!).
📝 Contribute to the conversation.
Traditional media is another important place to shift conversations, and there are plenty of opportunities for young people to contribute their opinions and alter a community’s perspectives. Take the time today to work on a letter to the editor of your local paper addressing recent news and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Who said you need to leave your home to explore centuries of Black history and culture? The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a number of special exhibits and collections that you can view online for free. Decide as a family with exhibits you want to explore, read the foundational text, and share your thoughts on the items on display. What pieces surprise you? Move you? Show you a new perspective? Tell you something you didn’t know? Inspire you to make a change?
Continuing the Conversation
Anti-racist work can’t be done in one day. It is long, complex, and important work that we encourage you to engage with as often as you can. For more guidance, check out these additional resources!
- Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
- The Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell
- We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- March by John Lewis
- Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Ibram X. Kendhi & Jason Reynold
For Young Adults
- Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
- This is My America by Kim Johnson
- When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
- Woke Kindergarten
- Queer Kid Stuff
- Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism with “Sesame Street” and CNN
- Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
- The Princess and the Frog (2009)
- The Hate U Give (2018)
- Hidden Figures (2016)
- Selma (2014)
For Young Adults
- See You Yesterday (2019)
- Black-ish (2014–)
- Dear White People (2017–)
- SO GET ME (from Alphabet Rockers)
- Stoopkid Stories
- Code Switch (from National Public Radio)
- Book Club for Kids
For Young Adults
- Floodlines (from The Atlantic)
- Intersectionality Matters! (from the African American Policy Forum)
- 1619 (from The New York Times)