I recorded this from Chicago as our city was one of many protesting the cruel death of a Black man in this country. Again.
I am an entrepreneur, but first and foremost, I am a mom, raising 4 kids in one of the most segregated cities in America.
The New York Times Editorial Board wrote three weeks ago: “In Chicago, the difference in average life expectancy for people born at the same time in different neighborhoods is as much as 30 years. Please pause to consider that number.”
It’s my job as a mom to raise citizens of the world, who are aware of societal and global problems and feel a sense of responsibility to use the lottery of their birth in service to others.
I don’t have answers, but I’ve had to come up with ways to discuss these issues as a mom. Some friends have reached out to see what we are talking about in our home. I’m sharing resources below to open the discussion and gain wisdom from you.
These resources have helped us get to a place where our kids have context for discussing the riots and Black Lives Matter.
The 1619 Project: This will blow your mind about race in America. America was built on the backs of slaves, and It affects everything, from business to housing, city planning and schools. It should be required reading in every high school, and it already is in many. My kids 7th grade and up all read it
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. I’m reading it now. It’s intense, but I can’t recommend it enough. If you want a version that’s less academic and ideal for teens, try the latest book by the same author How to Be an Antiracist.
There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz: A true story set in Chicago, your kids will learn what it means to win the lottery of birth. Middle school and up.
Becoming by Michelle Obama: Get to know firsthand what it’s like to grow up on the South Side and why racist real estate practices and white flight still affect generations of families. A beautiful book on Audible, perfect for a family road trip this summer. A very mature 5th grader and up can appreciate it.
This American Life episodes on Harper High School in Chicago. They shadowed Chicago’s Englewood school for a full semester, after 29 students had been shot and 8 students were killed in gang-related incidents.
Stories of people living on both sides of the divide, and the people trying to unite it from This American Life
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. This focuses on what we should know about people we don’t, it goes in depth on policing policies that can lead to racial profiling. It’s for high school and up, and be warned that there is a section on the Penn State case that some may find especially disturbing.
I’d love for you to continue the conversation to let me know what you’re doing to build a better future. It’s going to take all of us.
Our kids need us to do everything in our power to set the stage for a brighter future than the present they’re experiencing.