On March 21, 2022, we commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination alongside the United Nations (UN) and racial justice groups in Bermuda and worldwide.
At Family Centre, non-discrimination is our everyday mantra. It is threaded throughout the entire organization at every touchpoint with our clients. We do not discriminate racially, socio-economically or culturally. Any family that has a need for our services can freely access them. Children and families are free to express their views on race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. There are no exclusions based on any of these criteria. We don’t judge, rather we welcome differences.
Family Centre practices a culture of equality, acceptance and anti-discrimination. We invest in staff professional development of critical skills in cultural sensitivity. We do all we can to best represent the community that we serve, as a culturally sensitive organization.
Family Centre stands for the elimination of racial discrimination. Children and youth today, and generations still to come, deserve to live in a world where racism no longer threatens their wellbeing.
We join the UN and racial justice groups in Bermuda and around the world, to call on each and every one of us to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes and behaviors.
The 2022 theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21) is “VOICES FOR ACTION AGAINST RACISM” and the hashtag is #FightRacism.
Watch these videos featuring anti-racial discrimination messages from youth in Family Centre’s Community Programmes, and see highlights from our ACEs Conference on Understanding and Addressing Racial Trauma. Scroll down to read our conversation tips below, and to learn what you and your family can do to make a difference and help eliminate racial discrimination.
#FightRacism by keeping the conversation going.
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Resources for the community regarding mental health and conversations with children about racism
We posted our black squares in solidarity. We marched the streets in solidarity. What’s next?
Don’t stop the conversation.
At Family Centre, we are committed to our mission to strengthen families to create a healthier Bermuda for our children.
That’s why we are sharing these conversation tips for parents.
1. Start the conversation.
Open the conversation early. Your kids are relying on you for information and, just as importantly, support on the current events.
2. Be prepared to listen.
You may not be their only source of information, so approach conversations with an open mind. Let them know you’re committed to engaging with their opinions.
3. Trust yourself.
As their parent, you are already the expert on your child. Be honest about your own uncertainties and go into any conversation with an open mind.
When topics like racism and injustice come up, parents may think, “My child is too young for this conversation…”
While young children (ages 2-6) may not have enough life experience to understand, having a conversation can help make sense of things that seem senseless. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when having the conversation:
- Find out what they know.
- Break down issues to their simplest terms.
- For example, “Some groups of people still aren’t treated equally or fairly.” or “A man hurt a woman.”
- Catch your own biases.
- We all have them. Avoid describing a person’s ethnicity, sexual identity, weight, financial status, and so on, unless it’s relevant to the issue.
- Use basic terms for feelings such as “mad,” “sad,” “afraid,” and “happy,”
- Young children understand emotions, but they don’t totally understand mental illness.
Maybe your child is older, and you’re thinking, “My child already has an idea about it…”
Children between the ages of 7-12 tend to be more exposed to content and information more often – as they are interacting with peers and social media more readily. It is vital for children to be able to discuss topics without feeling judgement, shame or embarrassment.
- Find out what they know.
- Create a safe place for discussion.
- For example, “These topics are hard to discuss — even for adults. Let’s just talk. I won’t be mad, and I want you to feel free to ask anything you want.”
- Be sensitive to their emotions.
- Check in by sharing how you feel and ask them how they feel. Say, “I feel angry when I know that someone got hurt, what are you feeling right now?”
- Encourage critical thinking.
- Ask open-ended questions to get kids to think more deeply about serious topics. Ask, “What did you hear?,” “What did it make you think?,” For older kids, you can ask, “Do you think families from other backgrounds would view this the same way as us?” And, “The news media hypes up stories so more people will pay attention. Why do you think this story is getting so much play?”
My Child is a teen and we struggle to have conversations….
Teens are engaged in social media independently – and they do tend to be more interested in what their friends think about an issue. They also hear about difficult subjects in the news or from other social media platforms. As parents it is still important to have these conversations.
- Encourage open conversation.
- Teens need to know that they can ask questions, test their opinions, and speak freely without fear of consequences. Say, “We may not agree on everything, but I’m interested in what you have to say.”
- Encourage critical thinking.
- You can ask them , “What do you think about police brutality?,” “What do you know about it?,” “Who do you think is at fault?,” and “Why do you think that?”
- Share your values.
- Ask what they would do if they were in a difficult situation. Asking them to consider how they would act if confronted with a terrible reality is a way to get them to think about ethical dilemmas and see themselves making good choices. For example, ask “If you were caught in a political demonstration that turned violent and you saw people being mistreated, what would you do?”
- Get them to consider solutions.
- If anything is going to get better, it’s this generation who’s going to do it.
For more tips, visit https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-difficult-subjects
Truth and Reconciliation Community Conversations with CURB
Truth and Reconciliation Community Conversations are changing the way we talk about race, justice and inequality. Openness, authenticity and trust are critical. Organized by Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB), and led by Restorative Practice facilitators, these conversations empower participants to share stories and think creatively about how positive societal change can be achieved.
CURB has been facilitating this transformative, educational and solution-seeking process since 2017, and they would welcome you to join them. Register to join the next Truth and Reconciliation Community Conversations by emailing email@example.com or calling 707-1496.
Visit https://www.uprootingracism.info to learn more about CURB.
Read: This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons On How To Wake Up, Take Action, And Do The Work
This Book Is Anti-Racist is a guided journal with more than 50 activities to support your anti-racism journey, written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurelia Durand.
Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.
“In a racist society, it’s not enough to be non-racist–we must be ANTI-RACIST.” – Angela Davis
This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society–including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators.