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Talking About Race with Young Children


As a teacher, I witnessed racial prejudice in 4 and 5 year olds — explicitly racist behavior from a child who lived in a home with racist beliefs and racist behavior from children who had never interacted with other children (or likely adults) who were not white. Silence is violence… in so many different ways.

Infographic by early childhood educator Jarrod Fischer Green. Full pdf here.

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And here is a very comprehensive Resource list for Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice: a list for parents, caregivers & educators


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The Rise of Hate and Overt White Supremacy

During the election last year, I had 2 conversations with Trump supporters where I shared of my concern that Trump’s candidacy and potential election is bringing to the surface a quality of hate and violence that resembles Hitler’s era. They both responded to me with surprise, “You really believe that?” (met by my own surprise that they really couldn’t see that). Their responses to my emphatic YES were their own perceptions of how “he’s not that bad” and “folks wouldn’t take it that far.” And that’s “not what I support”. And here we are. A year of Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, and KKK activity on the rise. Horrendous murders and violence like the one below. And the continued systematic deployment of a White Nationalist agenda that lives tucked in the legalities of all of the major US systems (criminal justice, education, housing, employment, healthcare, etc.). I have not revisited these conversations with these 2 people… I should.

I strongly believe that we must be able to see and face the reality that we are living before there is any hope of transforming it to create a brighter and more compassionate present and future… for ALL people. May we find the courage to act in different ways, to make different mistakes, to honor the many lives that are lost to hate, violence and discrimination, and to summon up the bravery, imagination and wit to create a future we actually dream of. (my “we” in this post is all the people with goodness in our hearts).


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Jesus is Coming – Will you Recognize Him?

Driving through rural Georgia I passed a hand written sign in someone’s yard that said, “Jesus is coming.” I wanted to ask the people — How will you know when Jesus arrives? How will you recognize Jesus? What-if Jesus is here and because Jesus doesn’t fit your description you can’t recognize Jesus? This post about a Jesus who is saving lives and taking care of his community, while those in power want to destroy his life, made me think of the other Jesus.

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 11.53.15 PM“This young man is named Jesus Contreras. He’s a paramedic from Texas who just spent six sleepless days and nights saving lives in Houston — rescuing countless strangers from rising flood waters.

(Have you ever done that? I’ve never done that.)

This is what a hero looks like.

But there is a strong possibility that Jesus — this generous-hearted hero of a young man — will be among the 800,000 young people whom President Trump would like to deport soon from the United States.

Jesus’s family came to this country illegally when he was child, but because of DACA protections, he has been able to gain a limited legal presence in America. He has recently been able to live his life in productivity, rather than living in the shadows. He can have a driver’s liscense. He can have a legal job. He can save your life in a disaster. He’s a decent and religious young man, who prays for the President. He is GOOD. He is leader, and a positive force in his community. He is exactly the kind of person this country needs. Getting rid of him doesn’t make this country better; it makes this country dumber. This young man is no threat to you. In fact, he would happily save your life.” (more in this article)

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Please Share Your Visions of an Inspiring Future

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I believe that another world is possible.
I believe that humans have the capacity to be more humane.
We are living in a time of profound injustice,
where human lives are constantly violated, and hate and violence is being amplified.
And yet, I still believe in the goodness in people’s hearts.

How do we tap into more of that goodness?
What are the anchors that help us stay centered in these times of chaos and destruction?

We’re all in this together.
Perhaps our radical imagination is an essential tool
to help us keep moving forward towards a more loving, humane and just world.

What do you see when you imagine a future that is inspiring and worth working towards?

Tomorrow I turn 40. To celebrate my birthday, I would love to receive some inspiration. Please leave a comment, send me a private message, a text, an email, or a phone call that offers a glimpse of a vision of the future that inspires you? Or share an image of how you and your community are already living a future now that inspires you? It could be one sentence or a few. It doesn’t have to be wise words, any image will be so appreciated… and perhaps will provide some inspiration for others. We must maintain the ability to dream beyond fear and divisiveness.

adrienne maree brown in her book Emergent Strategy is an inspiration to me in this realm and here are some of her words on this topic (with some slight edits/additions from me):

“How do we cultivate the muscle of radical imagination needed to dream together beyond fear?

In order to create a world that works for more people, for more life, we have to collaborate on the process of dreaming and visioning and implementing that world. We must imagine new worlds, a world beyond enemies, finding ways to coexist, celebrating our polycultural world, transforming the conditions that make injustice possible, growing an economy of relationships, a society of care and respect. The more people who cocreate the future, the more people whose concerns will be addressed from the foundational level in this world.

I suspect that is what many of you are up to, practicing futures together, practicing justice together, living into new stories. It is our right and responsibility to create a new world.”

What visions and images of a compassionate and just world do you see? What does liberation for all of us look like to you? How do we take care of one another? What does it look like when we see, learn from and appreciate one another? What are your images of how we share resources, how we make decisions together, how we care for children, the elderly, and other folks who are vulnerable? How do you see justice being centered? What art do you imagine that gives us visions for new life and new ways of being together? What are you already experiencing that is an expression of a future you’d like to see more of?

Thank you so much for sharing any of your images or visions. Together we are capable of magic.

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“An ad from Mexican airline Aeroméxico shows how dangerous, and ultimately meaningless, physical and ideological barriers can be.” ~Source

Are you asking yourself critical questions, looking deep into yourself about what the role of borders really is? How they serve the world you want? Are you questioning your thoughts — what stems from your own moral and ethical values and what stems from your fears and “truths” that are told to you by others but not experienced by you personally/directly?

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Full Moon Ramble in the Rain

the night pulled me awake… the moon pulled me outside.

full moon flow bursting through my soul…
guess I better get out there in it.

bundled up myself and my tender heart.

a sweet, sweet soul-grounding 3am walk in the rain…
after a crazy and surprising day.


noting the forces enticing me to play…

smiling and laughing as I lose and find my way.

art by karabrown

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A Nourishing Place to Grow

I’ve just published a new What’s Possible? Newsletter. You can read the full newsletter or enjoy the main article below.

I’d like to share with you an experience I had during a recent yoga class. It has become a potent metaphor for me in regards to how we shape nourishing and inviting environments where people can relax, feel connected, learn and grow.

During this yoga class I’m resting in child’s pose. My body is curled into a ball, relaxed and releasing into the ground. My torso, chest, back and head are folded over the bottom half of my body. My shins, knees, the tops of my feet, my forehead and arms are resting on the floor. I am relaxed. Breathing in and out. I sink deeper and deeper into the pose. My brain is calm and at rest.

The instructor invites us to imagine that we are a seed. To feel ourselves as a seed resting deep in the earth. I feel myself let go even more fully. My seed is so light, practically weightless, as if it is floating. And yet paradoxically I can also feel pressure all around me. An encompassing sensation of gravity pulling at me and pressing against me from all directions. In a comforting way, I am engulfed by the moist soil that is holding me in the earth, holding me close. And yet I also feel totally free. I am peacefully a seed. Everything feels right. There is no stress. I let go and fall into my surroundings. I feel open, trusting and free.

And then the instructor invites us to imagine that our seed is getting ready to sprout. I start to feel the initial inner stirrings, the impulse to grow. Something inside me is awakening. Sparks are firing. Energy is stirring. Every part of my insides begin to tingle, in all directions, 360 degrees, three dimensionally, all my cells are humming with potential. I feel a tension pulsing against the edges of my seed coating. While this frenetic energy is growing inside me, I still feel gracefully held in the utterly calm stillness and nourishing surroundings of the earth. My surroundings continue to support me. I trust this ground to hold me and I keep relaxing into it, feeling safe and letting go. I don’t have to do anything but be a seed. The creative energy continues to purr inside me.

I feel an aliveness of beauty and potential growing inside of me. I know that when the time is right, my seed will break open into the vast unknown, moving beyond the protective boundary and allowing all this potent energy to unfold. I can feel that my seed wants to grow and it will do just that. It does not need to be forced. It simply needs a nourishing environment in which to rest. The earth is holding and nourishing me in such a comforting way, and thus I am free to let myself expand and grow.

As a seed held in the grace of the moment, my only task was to relax into myself. The more I did that, the stronger the inner stirrings of potential and creative force became inside of me. Where have you or your child felt so held in the grace of the moment that it was safe to relax deeper into yourself? How can we create more places like that? What opportunities might you provide for yourself and others to experience and give life to the potent creative force within?

As adults we have much influence and power over the environments in which children live and interact. We can create places where
children feel welcomed to be themselves, where they are contained in ways that allow them to be open and free — this is our response-ability. This makes room for them to connect with their deep inner stirrings and relate to the nutrient-rich world around them. This is not about over-protecting and shielding them from bad weather. This is about mindfully attending to the spaces in which they are living and growing, supporting them as they connect with their own interior landscape and impulses to learn.

How can we create more places where people recognize that they are held in the grace of the moment, feel safe to relax deeper into themselves, and thus are able to give life to that potent creative force within? Where have you experienced being held in such a way? What makes a place feel welcoming, inclusive, and safe for you to let yourself be and grow? In what environments do you notice your child feeling such freedom and creative expression? I would love to hear your reflections.

Bulb paintings are by KaraBrownLovesArt.

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