Today our family marched with thousands upon thousands of other concerned citizens in New York City to protest against police brutality. We saw other parents walking with their children but by and large it was rare to see young children at the event… which is understandable. During the march, we received accolades and quite a bit of attention for having our children with us. Bringing a five year old and 20 month old to a protest march is an interesting decision…
Here is why we did it:
– we wanted them to experience history while it occurred
– we wanted to reinforce what Lady C (our five year old) learned about civil rights and civil disobedience in school
– Lady C learns a lot about justice but it is equally important that she learns about INJUSTICE
This was a learning moment and teaching opportunity. For weeks now, we have been trying to think of a way to discuss what is happening in the country and have been at a loss. We’ve read blogs and articles and gathered children’s books that discuss race and civil disobedience. In reality, we were over-thinking it. Once we decided to attend the march we had to confront the issue of discussion. And just spoke from the heart.
We asked Lady C to tell us about what she learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She said they wanted people to sit wherever they wanted on a bus. We told her that one of the ways they made their opinions known was by marching with other people who shared their opinions. We told her we wanted to do the same to let the world know that we do not agree with people being treated unfairly. We decided not to delve too much into the particulars of the most recent cases and kept it very general.
We prepped by packing snacks, loading up on clothes to stay warm and Lady C made a sign for the event and sounded out all the words to create the sign.
Lady C and Lady H even marched through the house to rehearse. And… We made sure everyone had an empty bladder before we left the house… Very very important.
When we arrived, Lady C was amazed by the crowd and we asked her how it felt to see so many people gathered to express how they feel. Her response: “happy”.
She joined the chants, held her sign with pride, asked questions and generally was a great sport.
We left the march early and on the way home she continued to chant.
We hope this experience teaches Lady C about social action, using your voice and opens her eyes to the power people have when they come together for a united purpose.