National African American Parent Involvement Day – February 11, 2008
On the second Monday of Black History Month, NAAPID is a national call to action to get
parents, particularly those of children of African American descent, more involved as one
strategy for reducing educational inequities. It is expected that this national observation will
open up dialogue among teachers, parents, and students, which will lead to a more conducive
learning environment for African -American students from kindergarten through college.
At Lake Harriet, we encourage all parents to participate in this day with their students – see
the schedule below. We are hoping to start the conversations around issues of diversity and
that you as parents/adults in their lives will continue the discussion and ask questions around
the dinner table. The programming is meant to have students identify ways to respect and
value differences, be an ally, and make positive social changes towards equity and fairness.
Activities will encourage students to think more critically about their role in the world, and
encourage them to be empathetic leaders and problem solvers.
2008 NAAPID activities at LHCS: Diversity Institute 2008 - Race, Privilege, and Power in
Breakfast: parents/guardians are encouraged to come share breakfast with your child
in the cafeteria from 8:45 to 9:05 (please arrive by 8:45).
Music Performances on Lower campus: for times, see Connection and schedule sent
in backpacks on Feb 5.
CLIMB Theater in the K-6 classrooms: Throughout the day CLIMB Theater will be
in EACH of the classrooms (K -6) using interactive theater to explore the valuing of
differences, inclusion/exclusion, respect, and positive ways to get along. Schedules
will be sent home Feb 5th. (Sixth grade students will also attend the Central High
Touring Theater performance and be guided by their teachers though supportive
learning activities this day.)
Diversity Institute: Race, Privilege and Power for 7th and 8th grade: CLIMB Theater
will work with students on prejudice, inclusion/exclusion, being allies, etc. Students
will have workshops on white privilege and learn about immigration or poverty. All
will see St. Paul Central High’s Touring Theater’s 2008 show, 1-2pm in the UC gym:
“We are Called to Speak to the People as Artists”. A reflection and summary session
will conclude the day.
Info about the day:
About CLIMB Theater (all grades):
(http://www.climb.org/acceptance_differences_k_6.aspx) A nationally recognized non-profit
that has provided programming to K-12 schools for 32 years. CLIMB’s mission is to: create
and perform plays, classes, and other creative works that inspire and propel young people
toward actions that benefit themselves, each other, and the community. They worked with
over 479,000 students last year.
About Diversity Institute presentations for 7th and 8th grade:
White Privilege: Kathleen DeVore (Professor of Literacy and African American
literature, MCTC) and Sonja Kuftinec (Assoc. Professor, Department of Theater Arts
and Dance, U of Mn) will lead activities to explain white privilege in non-threatening
ways, inquire about how our community does/doesn’t address it, and explore ways
that students can share what they learn and use it to make changes.
Immigration: From The Advocates for Human Rights: Aysem Senyurekli, will
address immigration basics, and Ramla Bil, a recent immigrant from East Africa, will
speak on her own immigration experience. From Hennepin County: Rosita Balch,
born in Colombia and now works with Latino families around education. She will
share her experiences as a community organizer and advocate.
Poverty: Urban Immersion: Brian Reusch and Gennae Falconer. UI is a project of
the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches that works with hundreds of students
and adults each year to explore the real-life challenges of the urban poor, including
housing, low-wage jobs, health, education, prejudice, violence, addiction, etc. UI has
worked with our school for 4 years in our service learning program.
Central High Touring Theater: Located in the black box in the basement of Saint
Paul’s Central High School, for nearly 30 years CTT it has been a safe space which
attracts a multi-racial, multi-economic and multi-intellectual group of students who
come together to be themselves, tell stories, break down barriers and produce theatre
that’s as powerful as it is entertaining. CTT’s founder Jan Mandel won the 2007
Ambassador Award from: The Saint Paul Foundation's Facing Race We're All in This
TogetherTM Initiative. http://www.facingrace.org/page33472.cfm.
For more information, contact: LC - Rebecca Skoler firstname.lastname@example.org 827-2887; UC -
Mary Jordan email@example.com 925-1715.
Materials/websites to help you continue discussion about these issues in your family:
About Why to Talk with Children about race, bias, discrimination and ‘tough issues’:
1. Children are aware/taking it in: Research tells us that between ages 2 and 5,
children become aware of gender, race, ethnicity, and disabilities. They also become
sensitive to both the positive attitudes and negative biases attached to these four key
aspects of identity by their family and by society in general. Young children develop
“pre-prejudice”: misconceptions, discomfort, fear, and rejection of differences that
may develop into real prejudice if parents and teachers do not intervene. Excerpted
from: Teaching Young Children to Resist Bias: What Parents Can Do by Louise
Derman-Sparks, María Gutiérrez, Carol Brunson Phillips, National Association for the
Education of Young Children. For complete article:
2. Children want to learn more about discrimination. In 2001, the Kaiser Family
Foundation and Nickelodeon launched a partnership to get kids and parents talking
together about ‘tough issues’, including bullying, disrespect, etc. In their national
survey, 57% of 8-11 year olds say they want to know more about discrimination, and
about half say discrimination (51%) and violence (46%) are “big problems” for kids
About How to Work With Your Children around these issues:
1. Teaching Tolerance: a vast collection of resources & tools for dismantling bias and
creating communities that value differences. http://www.tolerance.org/parents/six.jsp.
5 TIPS: THE ELEMENTARY & PRETEEN YEARS
1. Model it. Talking to your child about the importance of embracing difference and
treating others with respect is essential, but it's not enough. Your actions, both
subtle and overt, are what she will emulate.
2. Acknowledge difference. Rather than teaching children that we are all the same,
acknowledge the many ways people are different, and emphasize some of the
positive aspects of our differences – language diversity and various music and
cooking styles, for example. Likewise, be honest about instances, historical and
current, when people have been mistreated because of their differences. Encourage
your child to talk about what makes him different, and discuss ways that may have
helped or hurt him at times. After that, finding similarities becomes even more
powerful, creating a sense of common ground.
3. Challenge intolerance. If your child says or does something indicating bias or
prejudice, don't meet the action with silence. Silence indicates acceptance, and a
simple command – "Don't say that" – is not enough. First try to find the root of the
action or comment: "What made you say that about Sam?" Then, explain why the
action or comment was unacceptable.
4. Seize teachable moments. Look for everyday activities that can serve as
springboards for discussion. School-age children respond better to lessons that
involve real-life examples than to artificial or staged discussions about issues. For
example, if you're watching TV together, talk about why certain groups often are
portrayed in stereotypical roles.
5. Emphasize the positive. Just as you should challenge your child's actions if they
indicate bias or prejudice, it's important to praise him for behavior that shows
respect and empathy for others. Catch your child treating people kindly, let her
know you noticed and discuss why it's a desirable behavior.
5 TIPS: THE TEEN YEARS
1. Keep talking. Many believe the last thing teens are interested in is having a
conversation with parents. But even if your teen doesn't initiate conversations
about issues of difference, find ways to bring those topics up with them. Use
current issues from the news, such as the immigration debate or same-sex
marriage, as a springboard for discussion. Ask your teen what she thinks about the
2. Stay involved. Messages about differences exist all around your teen: the Internet,
songs, music videos, reality shows, ads and commercials, social cliques at school.
Know the websites your teen enjoys visiting; take time to listen to or watch the
music and shows they enjoy. Then discuss the messages they send. Ask your teen
about the group or groups she most identifies with at school. Discuss the labels or
stereotypes that are associated with such groups.
3. Live congruently. Discussing the importance of valuing difference is essential,
but modeling this message is even more vital. Evaluate your own circle of friends
or the beliefs you hold about certain groups of people. Do your actions match the
values you discuss with your teen? Teens are more likely to be influenced by what
you do than what you say, so it's important for your words and behaviors to be
4. Broaden opportunities. It may be natural for teens to stick to groups they feel
most comfortable with during the school day. These often are the people they
identify as being most like themselves. Provide other opportunities for your teen to
interact with peers from different backgrounds. Suggest volunteer, extracurricular,
worship and work opportunities that will broaden your teen's social circle.
5. Encourage activism. Promote ways for your teen to get involved in causes he
cares about. No place for him to hang out with friends? Encourage him to get
together with peers to lobby city officials for a teen social center or skate park.
Upset about discriminatory treatment of teenagers by a storekeeper or business?
Give your teen suggestions for writing a letter of complaint or planning a boycott.
When young people know they have a voice in their community, they are
empowered to help resolve issues of injustice.
2. Nickelodeon: http://www.nick.com/all_nick/everything_nick/kaiser/before.html
10 tips for talking with your kids about respect (and more) :
(Age-level) Tips for talking about respect with your kindergartener, elementary and
middle school children
About white privilege:
1. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh, Wellesley
A list of “daily effects of white privilege”. An excerpt from that article:
“As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts
others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects,
white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
…I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are
taught not to recognize male privilege .So I have begun in an untutored way to ask
what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an
invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but
about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible
weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes,
tools and blank checks.”
2. White Privilege Shapes the U.S. by Robert Jensen, School of Journalism, University of
Texas. First appeared in the Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1998
3. Talk to Kids About White Privilege:
http://www.tolerance.org/parents/kidsarticle.jsp?p=0&ar=49 July 2006 -- Elizabeth Bauchner
writes about how she recently explained the concept of white privilege to her son -- and how
she plans to build upon that discussion in the future.