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Becoming People Who Embrace Race

In my recent post (Don’t Box Us In), I explored a subtle way our society perpetuates a sense of racial division, which had me wondering how we might accelerate systemic change. I sought out a nonprofit that had an eye toward creating a better system for how we integrate, while also embracing our racial and ethnic differences. In my view, that’s a tall order that must involve our future changemakers: children. So I was thrilled to discover EmbraceRace, which has a similar vision and a goal for a thriving US multiracial democracy.

Created by two parents in 2016, EmbraceRace supports parents (and other members of the “village”) in raising children who are “thoughtful, informed and brave” about race. As more and more people recognize the importance of bringing up future generations who understand the complexities of race in society, EmbraceRace is rising to fill a need. They offer webinars, create action guides, share other content and recommend reading lists for kids. While all the material and programs currently offered are geared toward adults, EmbraceRace’s fundamental goal is to reach children aged 0-8. Studies show that it’s during this early stage of life when kids begin to understand race in themselves and in others. And EmbraceRace wants children to learn to discuss racial identity well before negative views about race start to solidify.

Being able to talk about race with children (and each other) is crucial, regardless of background, ethnicity, or age. Had EmbraceRace been around when I was a kid, I can only imagine how much farther along we’d be as a nation. As co-founder Melissa Giraud said in an interview last summer (just as the BLM protests were making daily headlines): “If you want to create better systems, you need to nurture better agents.” Such a profound truth couldn’t be stated better.

I’m excited to support EmbraceRace, and invite you to join me. And if contributing funds is not something you’re prepared to do now, perhaps there’s a child in your life who would welcome a productive discussion about race.

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