To Minneapolis With Love: #LoveLetters4BlackLives
Follow the Family Summer 4 Black Lives Facebook page for updates.
MAKE THE TIME: 7 Days To Action
This family-action is designed to take less than an hour each day for a 7-day week.
This was a struggle for us to fit into one week – with the 24/7 care of two young kids balancing their disabilities and mine, in a pandemic, with both me and my partner sprinting to cover our full time jobs and outside activism on top of that. HOWEVER – as a mixed Asian/white American family, we answered the call. Black families have to do all that same stuff we do, plus more – with the added fear of being targeted and killed just for existing while Black.
Non-Black families of color & white folks: Pace yourselves as needed but do the work and block off some time in your calendar.
Day 1: What is our family role in breaking patterns of racism?
Black families have already been forced to have these discussions. Today is the day for non-Black families of color & white families to do some work:
- Watch a read-aloud of Something Happened In Our Town (Ages 4+) together as a family.
- Answer kids’ questions and keep talking about what you’ve learned throughout the week.
- For help breaking down these complex questions, use the #FamilySummer4BlackLives Guided Discussion Family Talking Points and kid-friendly Luminary Word Bank.
[Video description: Read aloud of ‘Something Happened In Our Town’]
Day 2: Recognize the power of a love letter
Kids will have big feelings as we talk through current events, yesterday’s read aloud, and as we continue the conversations of our Family Talking Points. Now is the time to show them that affirmations of love can turn to commitment for change – and that commitment has a potential for big change.
Recognizing, acknowledging, and showing our kids how movements are made and sustained by Black women is a basic starting point for recognizing this labor & countering anti-Blackness.
Follow Francie & Tanya of Wee The People’s lead, and watch Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, co-founders of the BLM global network,
- Explain the genesis of #BlackLivesMatter. (1 minute video), below.
- Speak about Black people and the American Dream (3 minute video). This wasn’t embeddable, so you’ll have to check it out here.
[Video description: Video interview with Patrice Cullors on the origin of BLM as a love letter.]
Day 3: Start gathering materials to send some love to Minneapolis
Start gathering materials from your community to assemble your love letters!
- Letters can be big and fancy or small & scribbly – all ages, all talents are welcome. We need all voices to affirm our love.
- During the pandemic, we’ll be photographing & submitting our letters digitally – so you can go all-out without worrying about fitting anything in an envelope.
- Don’t have access to art supplies? Try using these free apps: Doodle Pad, Sketch.io, or Canva for older kids.
- For more inspiration, find printable coloring pages and guided prompts from the NYC BLM Activity Book.
If you’re using magazines or catalogues to make a collage – take a moment to talk with kids about
- Who do we see the most magazines?
- Who is missing?
- How does it feel when we don’t see ourselves reflected in books and media?
- What ideas do kids have to set things right?
[Image: Crafty supplies to make love letters. Image courtesy of Elena White of MassArt’s Center for Art & Community Partnerships]
Day 4: Make it personal
This one is for non-Black families of color & white families – today is when we break and grow so that Black families can take a day to heal.
Let’s not cultivate a nebulous idea of all Black families hurting in the epicenter of Minneapolis as a monolith. It’s vitally important that our kids see – that we see – that each and every Black life matters. Each and every voice counts. Each of these people are individuals, and they’re all hurting in unique ways, in need of love directed to them as people – not as a teeming mass.
So we must read the voices of real Minneapolis families. We must listen and bear witness. Today – we listen while the people of Minneapolis speak.
We can’t afford to look away. Wee The People have collected the stories of Minneapolis families living with the daily impacts of racism. You’ll have to paraphrase – but take the time to discuss these experiences with your kids.
- “My son, who is 6 years old, was shocked to see the destruction in our streets, but more devastated that George Floyd died at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect us.” – Molly, Anguish, fear, hope: Voices of Minnesotans on the aftermath of Floyd killing
- “So as long as the system works this way, she protects her son by telling him he can’t run outside. And he will tell her that it’s not the end of the world — how a son protects his mother.” How a mother protects her black teenage son from the world
Day 5: Use your voice
Below, you will find eight words inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Keeping in mind the discussions and feelings you’ve cultivated together as a family this week, we’re inviting kids to write a poem of any length that includes all eight words. Once you create your protest poem please share it with us – we are building a movement and we want your words to inspire others to speak out and stand up for what is fair and just!
How to share your poem:
- Post it on social media with the tag #FamilySummer4BlackLives
- If you feel safe doing so – include our poet’s first name, age, and city/town
- We want to boost your voice! Submit your poem using this form (https://tinyurl.com/ProtestPoem) OR email it to Families4BlackLives@gmail.com
Day 6: We Dance. / We Mobilize.
Another opportunity for Black families to rest for resistance and non-Black families to catch up and use our privilege to call in our own..
Non-Black families: It’s time to use your social power.
- Identify the local, virtual, and social communities where you hold influence & trust.
- Reach out to individuals who will listen to you
- Share your poems, your thoughts – your feelings.
- Share this post with one friend or family and invite them to come join you for our #LoveLetters4BlackLives action.
- Not sure how to get started? Grab a template and get started:
- Bonus points: Reach out to a local teacher and ask them how you can help to incorporate activities from the NYC BLM Activity Book into upcoming curriculum. (Don’t just toss it at overwhelmed teachers. Do the work.)
[Text description: We Dance. We Mobilize: A day of rest and calling in. Give + Live. Image courtesy of Revolutionary Humans. ]
Day 7: #LoveLetters4BlackLives DAY OF ACTION
Over the last seven days, your family has had an opportunity to learn, to reflect, to talk, to cry, and to grow. Now we breathe in all this pain, this hurt, and this need to do something. And we get started on the first of many actions in the fight against anti-Blackness.
Grab the materials you’ve been gathering all week (or your digital art app of choice) and get to work! Pour out your affirmations, your hopes, dreams, and most of all – your love.
- CREATE love letters to Black communities in Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was killed by police violence, igniting a global upraising for racial justice.
- RAISE $3,000 for Juxtaposition Arts, a Black-led, youth-driven visual arts center working with art industry leaders to prepare and inspire young artists to thrive in the global creative economy. Click here to donate $5.
How to deliver your love letters:
We will virtually “deliver” your cards to the people of Minneapolis via Juxtaposition Arts and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Send us your photos/videos, city/town, kid ages, and a few words of reflection about your family action by:
- Email: Families4BlackLives@gmail.com
- Google Form: #LoveLetter4BlackLives form
- Facebook: Post a public post on your own timeline with the tag #LoveLetters4BlackLives and tag Juxtaposition Arts (@JuxtapositionArts) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (@Artsmia).
- Instagram: Post to your own feed with the tag #LovLetters4BlackLives and tag Juxtaposition Arts (@jxta_arts) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (@artsmia).
[Text description: Love letter to Families of Minneapolis. “We stand with you. We will continue to fight for JUSTICE, TRANSFORMATION + LIBERATION.” A Collage of photos of Black models, actors, and artists are shaped into a heart in the center. Image courtesy of Elena White of CACP. ]
Follow-Up: How Has This Action Lingered?
Stay tuned – we’ll be checking in (and updating this post) to gather your reflections and see how this action has impacted your family. We’ll be here to offer support, answer your questions, and provide resources for next month’s #FamilySummer4BlackLives action.