GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Black Lives Matter. It’s a fact Grand Rapids parents Anissa and Jermale Eddie are ingraining in their three boys Malachi, Nehemiah, and Josiah Eddie everyday.
Anissa Eddie explains, “We have a visual schedule that we go through with a list of things from wake up, get dressed, do your schoolwork, play outside, and there's a square on their schedule for “Black Lives Matter.”
Black Lives Matter Time is fifteen minutes a day where Malachi, Nehemiah, and Josiah learn about black lives, and equality.
“Sometimes it's video, sometimes it's books, sometimes it's conversations. There's so many resources right now that we can tap into,” says Anissa.
10 year old Malachi tells me, “The black lives matter time is a time for us to recognize who we are, and to be proud of who we are!”
A corner of the Eddie dining room is filled with books about real people in black history. Another corner is full of books where black protagonists are superheroes, Minecraft characters, and everyday friends.
While showing the reading corner Anissa tells me, “Not all of the books need to be about black history, characters, or activism. It's also really important for people for kids especially to see black and brown characters just doing everyday life.”
“And this is important for all children, not just children of color, but for white children too, so they can recognize that there is a common humanity,” continues Anissa.
Black Lives Matter Time is a concept all families can incorporate into at home learning.
Anissa acknowledges, “These are hard conversations for white parents, for parents of color, for everyone.”
However the Eddie’s say when using age appropriate materials this is a learning opportunity, an imperative conversation starter all families can benefit from. Malachi, Nehemiah, and Josiah certainly do.
While sitting on their porch steps Malachi tells us, “All people should be treated fairly!”
Jermale Eddie recounts a time talking to the boys when, “One of them said, and I was like ‘Oh gosh,’ one of them said, ‘Everyone deserves to have a friend!’ That's big, you know?”
The Eddie family shares that many parents may be nervous to talk about race, or start their own Black Lives Matter time because they’re not sure how to go about it.
Anissa Eddie has shared the below list of resources to get you started.
Graphic Showing Why It Is Never Too Early To Talk To Kids About Race
Local Book Stores Committed to Justice Work
We Are Lit Multicultural Bookshop
Books & Mortar Bookstore
Local Business that Connects Parenthood to Social Activism
Resources for Selecting Diverse Books
Kent District Library
Grand Rapids Public Library
Black History in 2 minutes (or so) with Henry Louis Gates Jr.