Thanks for tuning into My Reflection Matters (MRM) first blog post! For those of you not familiar with MRM, we currently exist on social media (Facebook, Tumblr, and working on Pinterst and Twitter) as a hub that researches, collects, and shares resources and products that affirm and reflect the cultural and racial identities of Black and Brown youth from childhood to early adulthood. As founder of MRM, I started this project as a frustrated mother and educator who struggled to find, what I thought, were simple things such as books, cartoon shows, curriculum, toys, etc. that reflected the physical attributes and cultural perspectives of my beautiful, Black-Latino sons. It didn’t take me long before I realized I wasn’t alone in this frustration. This is when I decided to take action and, boom, My Reflection Matters was born!
Through MRM, my goal is to provide you with the tools necessary to support and nurture the development of healthy racial and cultural identities of Black and Brown youth. It is my hope that through the thoughtful use of the resources shared on MRM, this engagement will foster self-worth in youth, a love for humanity, and develop in them the ability to think critically about the injustices they and others experience, empowering them to combat internalized and institutional racism and oppression in American society and around the world.
Each month, you can expect MRM to produce a blog highlighting most products and resources shared on our facebook page. As an extremely busy mom, I understand how busy life can get, so I always appreciate when someone can do all the busy work to house fun and useful tools all in one place for me. I hope you find the information shared here useful as well as quick and easy to read and access. For this month, I have arranged all information under the following categories: Books, Animation, Curriculum and Instruction, Toys/Apps, Apparel, Self-Empowerment and Articles You Loved. In order to ensure I provide quality resources you want and deliver it in an accessible way, your feedback is important to me! If you have a minute to spare, please share with me what you like, want to see more of, and/or suggestions for improvement. If you are interested in purchasing any products or reading more about a resource, simply click on the name of the product or business and you will be directed to their site.
Happy reading and clicking!
Peace & Love,
(Disclaimer: I do not get paid by any companies mentioned in this blog. This is purely lead by my personal research and interests.)
How do you explain to a 6-year old what protesting means? Check out Daddy There’s A Noise Outside written by a father who was in search of a way to teach his child how to explore the meaning of this social act and connect to it to what is currently going on in today’s #Blacklivesmatter movement.
Bad Hair Does Not Exist is a much needed book that affirms the beauty in the multi-textured hair our Black and Brown children are naturally born with. This book aims to defy what mainstream media has defined is the standard of beauty. Read here to learn more about the author and her story behind writing this book.
Searching for a collection of books that focus on the history and contributions of Black Americans in technology and innovation? Click here for titles and descriptions of up to 15 books.
The American Reading Company has partnered with Dr. Pedro Noguera to “provide 50-book independent reading collections that speak to the identities and experiences of the most underrepresented students in American schools: boys of color.”
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Dr. Beverly Tatum is my favorite book to gift for parents-to-be. Tatum shares research around the factors that impact racial identity development in youth and ways adults can support the development of healthy racial identities from early childhood to adulthood.
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.” Click here to purchase this book.
If you are looking for a cartoon that represents positive images of Africa and teaches about Nigerian history and culture, then the Bino and Fino DVD series is the perfect match! My kids really enjoy these episodes and they provide good talking points for us to explore the continent of Africa and our cultural connections to it.
A few years ago, the Huffington Post published 6 Diverse Children’s Cartoons (Where the Main Character Isn’t Necessarily White) highlighting our previously mentioned Bino and Fino as well as the following five animations: The 99, Burka Avenger, Ni Hao Kai-Lan, Sara Solves It, and Maya and Miguel. Click here to learn more about each show.
Curriculum and Instruction
Are you a parent, teacher, or student searching for #conscious curricular materials? The Zinn Education Project may be for you. “Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula.”
For lessons and resources on anti-bias and anti-bullying topics, The Anti-Defamation League produces some thought-provoking lessons aligned with common core and broken up by grade level.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) published a three-page PDF on Islamophobia.org that provides recommendations on how to conduct conversations with young people about the current anti-Muslim hate crimes and Islamophobic political rhetoric heard in mainstream media.
In the spirit of celebrating Kendrick Lamar’s epic performance at the Grammys, you must grab this brilliant literary lesson I found here. The lesson uses Kendrick’s album, To Pimp A Butterfly, to help high schoolers develop a critical lens by drawing political and historical connections between his album and the literary text, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.
Contrary to how it is typically marketed, homeschooling is not just a “White thang”. Check out the The Black Homeschool for tips and ideas.
My Family Builders is a fun, educational toy for young children, and was our most liked product this month! The box includes cards with pictures of different families–same sex, inter-racial, and single parent families–that serves as a tool to help adults engage in conversations about the beauty in different families. This is definitely a fav. of my two and four-year-old!
Check out 11 empowering dolls that hep little girls see the beauty in themselves. I look forward to sharing photos and a review of the Healthy Roots doll and book once my kids receive it in the mail!
If you aren’t already following one of the most popular parenting sites, My Brown Baby, then you need to get on it! Denene Milner (Founder of My Brown Baby) writes some great blogs including this one titled, Twelve Multicultural Kids’ Book Apps Every Parent Should Know, where she shares some pretty awesome educational apps that have Black and Brown faces at the center of their game.
If you know an English Language Learner (ELL) who can use some support learning a new language, check out 6 storytelling apps that get English language learners talking.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind #blackhistoryiseveryday gift for your kids to rock year round? You will love BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) Apparel. They have sizes from infant to adult and various statements. Keep posted to see my kiddies rock their conscious tees soon.
My Brother’s Keeper was started by the Obama administration to close the opportunity gap that persistently affects Black boys and men of color. This program is intended to provide mentoring, networking, and skill building for career and college readiness. Click here to learn more.
Searching for an empowering social network, with a cause, for adolescent girls? I think your gals will dig We Love Bam! All mentoring and social action is supported by GrassROOTS Community Foundation.
How are you empowering kids, friends, and family of all races to get involved in #blacklivesmatter? White People For Black Lives (WP4BL) is an anti-racist collective and activist project whose work is “rooted in showing up for racial justice and acting in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, and more specifically in alliance with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles”.
Articles You Loved
Need some tips on how to have tough conversations, or just searching for something interesting to read? Catch up on some of our top reads shared this month!
Chemay is a social liberation & equity coach who founded My Reflection Matters, LLC in 2016. She is an unschooling mom of two brilliant, TriniRican boys. She loves traveling, going on adventures and exploring new things with her sons, reading, decorating, yoga, photography, and collecting funky art. (Read more on MRM’s About Page.)