Outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others didn’t just inundate my social media feeds or my TV and radio. This call for change echoed from Minneapolis to Louisville to right here, in our neighborhood, as hundreds engaged in protests at the Capitol. Downtown, I could hear police helicopters overhead, and I wondered how the kids and teenagers in our congregation were responding to the shocking and racist violence that is permeating our society. How were they perceiving the anger and chaos that seemed so palpable? What were they hearing and interpreting? How were they processing these sights and sounds and this flood of information that often comes to our children in bits and pieces?
It is so difficult to know how to talk with kids about the tragedies in the world, especially when we are still trying to make sense of them ourselves. But it is even harder when these tragedies expose an issue that has traumatized people of color for so long; when it wakes us up to the systemic racism that permeates our world and affects the way we see and live and treat others. Kids need to hear from the adults in their lives about this issue, even as we are trying to understand ourselves. We cannot wait until we have figured it out before engaging them in the conversation.
On Sunday, July 5 at 8 pm, Second Baptist Church will host a conversation live on Facebook and YouTube, to help us consider how to talk with kids about systemic racism and the white privilege that saturates our lives. Our brothers and sisters of color must have this conversation with their children at a very early age. Not having to talk with our children about racism is part of our white privilege. It is time for our predominately white community to hold each other accountable as we come together to consider how create an anti-racist environment in our homes and in our world.
We have intentionally chosen to engage with the three panelists below because they have experience teaching, ministering, and parenting in predominately white settings. They are white parents and advocates who are learning how to talk to their kids about systemic racism and white privilege, just as we are.
Meet our panelists:
Kelly Hammen, LCSW
Kelly is a licensed social worker who specializes in trauma treatment. Kelly provides consultation to mental health therapists throughout the state on how to implement evidence based trauma treatments for children and their families. She is the mother of two children ages 4 and 2.
Joy Pemberton, Ph.D.
Joy is clinical child psychologist who specializes in evidence-based therapy and assessment for children, especially those with behavior problems and/or a history of trauma. In addition to her work as a psychologist, she has worked with children throughout her life through volunteer and other positions, and has an 11-year-old son.
Anna is an advocate for children and families and former children’s pastor from Tennessee. Anna is passionate about walking alongside children as they find their place in the world and as they seek to be understood and loved, just like we all do.
We hope you will join us for this important conversation. You can find our conversation on Facebook and YouTube on Sunday, July 5 at 8 pm. A recording of the conversation will remain available on these platforms.
Consider watching the following videos in preparation for this conversation:
-Brittany Stillwell, Minister with Students and Families