BUILD A SOCIAL JUSTICE LIBRARY
Until this election season many of our SuitUp Nation members were not activist and then in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016 they woke up to the reality around them. Now, just days after the Inauguration and historic Women’s March, many people are wondering how to start becoming more involved.
There are many ways to fight. Not all acts of resistance can be marches or events that require long hours. Physical disabilities, lack of financial resources as well as other obstacles get in the way. For those with young children, late nights leave legacies of cranky weeks and tantrums (for children and adults). Anyone who fit those categories has many other options to turn their passion to change.
One of the greatest ways to begin anything is to educate ourselves about our mission. We recommend building a personal Social Justice Library full of books that will help you along the way.
CREATE YOUR OWN SOCIAL JUSTICE LIBRARY!
To start, you can access the following compressive list of books to purchase or borrow from county library for your kids. We always recommend picking a few and taking the time to read with your children. If they find a favorite keep, borrowing it! Each time you read a story, you may take away something new from the topic.
Social Justice is such an extensive cause it’s hard to address all issues at once and can be overwhelming to not only the adults but the kids as well. Begin with one or two subjects and build from there. Give your children time to process what you’re reading and engage them in conversations.
List of Books on Social Justice to check out!
- Set aside time to read. Try not to schedule it on top of other things. They will have questions.
- Be prepared to answer hard questions. While children of marginalized backgrounds will already be familiar with racism and classism (although they may lack the language skills for it), many other children of privilege will not. You will need to meet your child at their experience and level. You may spend twenty minutes on one page or idea. That’s okay.
- Read the book ahead of time (be it a chapter book or a picture book), have an idea of what might be easy or hard for your child to understand. Research ways to talk to your kids on those issues.
- Keep reading with your child, keep the discussion going. Point out the ideas when they appear in real life. Think about doing a mini lesson plan from a site like Teaching Tolerance.
If working with your local library is the best fit for you, that’s a fantastic option as well. Most local libraries are happy to work on getting requests. Ask your librarians what kinds of social justice books for kids they have. They may be able to recommend a section or area to look through.
There are two ways to gather this information: searching through an online database (either through your country or the libraries), or looking in person. Ask the librarian if there is an online database where you can search by category. Often you can request a book from the county system.
NOTE TAKING (APPLIES TO ONLINE AND MANUAL SEARCHING)
Take notes on what you find. Create a section for Local Library and County system (that way you know who has what). You don’t need to write down every book, just general topic.
Search the shelves! Ask librarians what issues lack books. Gather friends to help you look, bring coffee and camaraderie. Or combine a playdate with the search, one caregiver supervises kids, the other looks. School age children can participate.
If you know your library’s needs, you may be able to request specific books. Some libraries have funds specifically for that. However, many will not so be prepared to host a community fundraiser to buy books.
COMMUNITY BUILDING: FUNDRAISING
Organize a community fundraiser to purchase the books for your library. Collaborate with community groups like the PTA, schools, and local organizations. This event builds overall community. Plan an event that children can participate in like selling lemonade or a walkathon. Show them they can make change too.
Check out our other CTA on Teaching our Children about Social Justice.
JOIN OUR SUITUP NATION’S THE NEXT GENERATION GROUP!
Another great way to teaching children how to be involved is to let them get their hands dirty. #SUN has a group just for KIDS! Please click here to join the group, add your kid, and follow some simple, yet powerful, child-friendly Call to Action posts!
Join the kids group by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SUNNextGeneration/
Please note: A caregiver must remain a member of the #SUNKids group.
Visit SuitUp Nation’s Facebook Group to join in the conversation and become part of the #SUN movement. Make sure to let us know when you’ve taken action! Leave us a comment on our Facebook Page! Tell everyone you’re a budding activist who’s standing up for Human Rights all over North America.