In 2015, social justice educator and activist Angela Berkfield held her first Parenting for Social Justice workshop. Dozens of parents and caregivers came together to learn how to talk with their kids about topics like racism, immigration, homelessness, and gender identity. Now it is time to share those tools and inspiration. Using plain language, Berkfield, Pacheco, Colón Bradt, Parker, and Martin write about race, class, gender, disability, healing justice, and collective liberation, initiating age-appropriate and engaging conversations with kids about social justice issues. Included are ideas for taking action as families, from making protest signs and attending a local march, to trying healing meditations and consciously connecting with people from different backgrounds. Woven throughout the book are stories from diverse parents who’ve brought social justice into conversations with their kids. Resources for further learning and activities that readers can engage in on their own or as part of a group.
When families come together in a social justice community of practice they have an infinite power to alter the fabric of their families and communities,” according to Angela Berkfield, a leader of social justice work for parents in Southeastern Vermont, throughout the state, and beyond. She is the Founder and Director of ACT for Social Justice, co-founder of Equity Solutions and The Root Social Justice Center, co-author of the book (and blog) Parenting 4 Social Justice, and proud mom of two young kids.
Link to article about Angela and her work in Vermont Psychology
“Angela has led workshops on a wide variety of subjects, including race and class (see the short video clip below of Angela discussing her work leading Cross-Class Dialogue Circles), and created curricula for parents and teachers on these same topics. Most importantly, she writes and facilitates discussions for parents around how to incorporate these critical social justice issues into their parenting. The first few years of a child’s life are formative and influential, so parents who are able to engage with young people around social justice topics at a young age have the potential to raise a generation who are more aware of oppression and less apt to continue such harmful cycles. As Issa Nyaphaga articulated, “[M]y mother was my hero, my mentor, my art teacher, my life coach.” (2018, January 30) Ideally, parents can coach their children into creating a better world.” —Anne Koplinka-Loehr, writer, educator, social justice activist
About the Author/Editors/Contributors:
Author Angela Berkfield has taught in a variety of settings over the past two decades and is a co-founder of the Root Social Justice Center, ACT for Social Justice, and Equity Solutions. Chrissy Colón Bradt serves as an educator and Director of Equity and Inclusion at an independent school, and is on the board of The Courage of Care Coalition and the Root Social Justice Center. Rowan Parker currently works in Early Intervention as a Developmental Specialist and his favorite part of the job is helping parents learn to understand and work with their children. Abigail Healey is an early childhood educator and she engages her children and the children she works with in asking big questions, justice and change-making. Leila Raven served as the Executive Director of DC-based grassroots organization Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), where she used advocacy, education, and arts activism to build community-based, non-criminal solutions to addressing gendered violence and state violence in public spaces. One of Jaimie Lynn Kessell‘s life goals is to raise her 3 children with the knowledge necessary not only to propel themselves out of poverty but to help create a world in which all people have access to what they need to thrive.
About the Illustrator:
Brittney Washington is a Southern Queer Black Artist + Mama + Doula + Strategist + Troublemaker. She is known for her work to disrupt the power arrangements that maintain structural racism and othering. Her multidisciplinary approach is designed with the understanding that we all have different entry points into politicization and social justice movements. As an artist, she uses painting, illustration, and filmmaking to contribute to a broader spectrum of human experience in media, to decolonize our ideas of normality, and to invite radical empathy across difference. Brittney is currently based in Washington, DC working with organizations such as Service to Justice, Miriam’s Kitchen, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and SPACES—not mention radical artists and community leaders. She has created illustrations for Teaching for Change, Cop Watch, Black Lives Matter DC, Many Languages One Voice (MLOV), The DC Initiative on Racial Equity in Governments, independent authors, and more.