Let's Talk About It
Kidzeum's Full Statement Regarding Recent Events
What do we tell our children about George Floyd and the issues facing our nation? How do we help them understand race, ethnicity, compassion and justice in a way that empowers them to create inclusive communities and to care for each other? And what’s the role of a children’s museum in making that happen?
It’s easy to be outraged. What happened on May 25, 2020 should be remembered with profound and lasting shame. It was an unthinkable event that should be the last of its kind. Black lives matter, and Kidzeum stands with those who believe we have a lot of work to do to achieve equity, inclusion and justice in our community.
Though it is an important step, it takes but a little effort to write this statement mourning a wrongful death, condemning police brutality, and encouraging community solidarity against it. It takes a lot of effort, and incredible courage, to dig deep within ourselves to acknowledge our own ignorance, biases, and inaction. And to question, then reform, the institutions that wittingly or unwittingly perpetuate systemic racism.
Try as we might, museums are not neutral spaces. Kidzeum has made, in its mission statement, a commitment to inclusivity—“Create experiences of learning and discovery through play for children of all backgrounds and abilities.” That’s a good start, demonstrating good intentions. But it isn’t enough.
Kidzeum has a moral obligation to examine the patterns that perpetuate inequities and to change things for the better, for good. We are taking steps. We are pursuing anti-racism training for board and staff, incorporating goals for equity, inclusion and diversity in our new strategic plan, preparing programs that bring important issues to light, and engaging more and more with the black community in Springfield.
We also want to serve as a resource for parents, caregivers and educators who are seeking guidance as they talk about race and work to promote a multiethnic mindset in children. There is evidence to suggest that children are not born with a racial preference, but that those preferences develop as early as 3 months of age. Therefore, we believe that it is never too early to begin building the developmental foundation that reduces race-based bias.
We don’t have all the answers and are seeking full community engagement around this issue. Let us know what we can do. Send us an email at email@example.com and tell us what you think needs to happen next.
Kidzeum of Health & Science supports our nation's call for change and we want to help children learn to show kindness and compassion to everyone. Here are a few resources we've compiled to help parents start a conversation with children about the critical issues facing our world:
Talking to Kids About Race by National Geographic
“'This moment in time provides people with an opportunity,' says Candra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). 'Adults might want to turn off the TV or be silent. But kids are getting their information and understanding from other places. It makes it that much more important to have these conversations so they aren’t getting outside messages different from what [parents] want them to have.'"
Talking About Race by the National Museum of African American History & Culture
"Why talking about race matters: Everyone has a racialized identity. Racialized identity has major impact on a person's life. Race is a defining social construct in American life."
Equity Resources: Living the Statement by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
"[These resources] are drawn from our partners’ as well as from NAEYC’s own publications. While some provide recommendations and implications for policy makers and administrators, this collection is primarily focused on elevating resources that support educators in teaching for equity."
Do you know of more helpful resources you'd like to see featured here? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and share them with us!