Note: Jennifer Del Cid-Monterroso is a volunteer with Reading Is Resistance and has been reading and doing anti-bias/anti-racist with her 6-year-old. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your experience!
Before starting the process of reading with a social justice framework, I found myself unaware of how to even begin a conversation with a 6 year old about what social justice is and what it looks like. I would begin thinking about our political climate and how boldly people were engaging in social injustice. I thought about the school to prison pipeline that affects black and brown boys in the school system, all of the black individuals being shot by officers in broad daylight, and the numerous accounts of harassment being experienced by people of color all over the country.
I remember walking in downtown Portland, right after the riots and protests began due to the fatal shooting of George Floyd and my 6 year old asking me, “Who is that? Why are all of these paintings on the walls of the streets? What do they mean?” I thought to myself, “Where do I begin? What do I say?” I realized that day that children are aware of their surroundings and know what is going on and it is our job as adults to educate them about the world.
Reading with a social justice framework has allowed me to do just that. It has helped me begin the conversation about social justice and has helped me do it in a way that she is able to understand. Slowly but surely, it is making an impact. I hope to continue working with Reading is Resistance even after this course because I realize the effect that reading can have on children and their understanding of social justice and our journey towards it.