How to Protest for Social Justice at Home With Your Kids

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The world is in overwhelming flux right now. On one hand, you have a terrifying global pandemic; on the other, a society in the midst of a social injustice awakening. Many families want to be a part of the movement but are still apprehensive about venturing too far from their quarantine safe space.

In some cities, youth organisations focused on social justice are encouraging young activists to support the cause virtually through Family Days of Action. On these action days, families work together to make their voices heard by one another and across their communities. But in between these days of action (or if you can’t find any in your area), there are other ways you and your family can be a part of the movement — even from a social distance.

Start with a protest playlist

If you can’t find the words to speak, let music do it for you. As a family, work together to create the ultimate protest playlist. Your family playlist can speak to how you’re feeling — it can sing of change and talk about how to heal or how to act. Your playlist will be a living, breathing thing. Feel free to add or drop songs as your family continues to learn and grow. Consider sharing your playlist with loved ones or on social media for more suggestions of songs to add.

Chores for change

Doing some good could be as simple as washing a few extra dishes around the house — encourage kids to donate a portion of their allowance to the cause. As Kit Stone suggests in PopSugar, families who can afford to can make a difference by supporting a social justice organisation, a bail fund, or to aid families affected by violence and social injustice. As a family, research potential beneficiaries and take turns discussing the efforts that resonate and why. Stone writes:

Incorporate your children by having them donate a portion of their allowance to a different organisation twice a month. Let them know what each organisation does, and let them pick where they’d like to contribute their funds. When the organisation accomplishes one of its goals, let your child know their donation helped to make that happen.

Advocate for better education

Join your kids in writing letters to teachers and school administrators in support of teaching a Black Lives Matter curriculum. The lesson plans and the resources have already been created and are available through Black Lives Matter At School. The information is out there and ready to be taught; help your kids demand it.

TikTok your way to change

TikTok has quickly pivoted from that thing where you do your oddest dance moves to a platform for social justice. Kids are teaching other kids lessons on a range of topics from “What is racism?” to “How do you clear tear gas out of your eyes?” Watch and learn with your kids (hashtags #peacefulprotest, #blmmovement and #justiceforgeorge can get you started), and/or make your own TikTok video that might help, inform or express your family’s emotions during this time.

Make and share social justice art

Help your kids draw, design, or paint work of art about social justice or what the Black Lives Matter movement means to them. Slapping your art to the fridge will only take your message a few square feet, though, so share your masterpiece with others by posting it to social media — and then hang it on your front door or in window for the neighbours to enjoy.

For artistic inspiration, visit the National Education Association’s EdJustice site and explore their Share Art for Action gallery.

Organise a vehicle vigil

Organise your family, friends and neighbours for a vehicle vigil. In Lower Makefield, PA, families were recently encouraged to decorate their vehicles, turn on their flashing lights, and participate in a car procession vigil in support of racial equality. This vigil can be as simple as a route around your neighbourhood or as complex as a drive around the town square.

Get organised

Keep the conversation and the action going by helping your child start a youth activist organisation at school this fall. This could be a brand new club started from the ground up or a new chapter of an already existing youth organisation. To get started, Teaching Tolerance provides free educationally based social justice resources to teachers and youth organisers. They also offer a handy start up guide for youth activist clubs.

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