Dearest Brett and Levi,
Mommy and Daddy have some things we need to talk to you about. There have been lots of things going on around us and we know you've felt the energy of it - in our home, and our community, and our world.
Mommy and Daddy need to make sure you always remember that it is our job to be inclusive of everyone. Right now many of our Black brothers and sisters need our help. Of course, there are many white people, and red, and yellow, and gay, and trans, and poor, and so many others, that could use our help too. But our Black friends especially need us right now. As white people, we have many advantages that others don't have, and because of this we have a big responsibility.
I know all of this may be confusing so let’s see if this helps you understand a little better...
If our house was on fire, we would rely on the firefighters to come and put the fire out. If they got to our house but then started spraying water on all the houses on our block (even the ones that weren't on fire), and told us that all the houses were important and mattered, we would be confused and upset. Even though all of our neighbors are important and we care about them, our house would need the water the most. And we would expect the firefighters to put our fire out first, before they worried about the houses that didn't need it as much as we did.
It is important to know that all lives do matter. Every single being matters. But countless Black people are being treated as if they don't matter. Many people are mean on purpose. And there are also many people who don't even realize that what they are doing (or not doing) is harmful. We have a responsibility to be sure that we are not perpetuating this pain.
We need to teach you that silence is an action. When we see anyone being a bully, it's our job to help. When people say and do things (even jokingly) that put others down, let's make a promise that we will stand up for them and for what is right. Even if it makes us uncomfortable - especially if it makes us uncomfortable. Both Mommy and Daddy need to get better at this, too.
We also need you to know that some people may not like or agree with what we're teaching you. They may have bad things to say to you or our family, or they may yell at you, or ignore you, or even stop being your friend. We ask that you stay peaceful, even in situations where you disagree.
We want you to know that we will always be here for you to talk through anything. We promise you a safe space to move through the uncomfortable, but necessary, questions.
So here is our commitment to you as parents who are trying to raise race conscious children:
- We will talk about race in this family, even if it means having uncomfortable conversations. The discomfort lets us know we are on the right track.
- We believe it is a myth that talking about race divides. We know that it unites, in the real and honest kind of way.
- We will act, because talk is cheap.
- We will educate ourselves because it is not a Person of Color's responsibility to teach us about race. And if they do, we will listen and value the gift of their perspective.
- We will never tell a Person of Color how they should or should not do anything. Until we have lived in their skin, we don't get to decide what's best for them.
- We will center Black and Brown people whenever we can.
- We will help you to know and understand what sort of advantages come with being white, and we will teach you how to use your advantages for the greater good.
- Our commitment to this work will be greater than our egos.
- We will speak out in situations of injustice.
- We will not always be perfect and we will make mistakes, but we will always seek to understand and try to do better the next time.
- We will always encourage you to teach love and tolerance in the only way possible, which is by example.
Our work is to help people understand that Black Lives Matter. And once there is a collective understanding and agreement about this, and once we see action and clear change, we will make it our mission to find more and more and more people to uplift. And we will never stop. Because this is who we are. And this is what we do.
We love you always,
Mommy and Daddy