We are all asking the question, “how do you know when kids are ready to talk about race and racism?” If they are asking questions, they are old enough to start talking about it. Teenagers can’t engage in social media, or any kind of news channel, without hearing about the state of our country right now. They are witnessing the racial tension and activism in our nation. In many cities, young people are asking for change and initiating rallies and peaceful demonstrations. Our youth want to be engaged and challenged with race and justice issues. And, we need to provide them a theological framework and opportunities to do so. Here are some resources that have come to our attention we recommend as you explore these conversations with your youth, families, and congregations:
Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel’s Anxious to Talk About it: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism, tackles the difficulty of getting predominantly white congregations to confront racism and bigotry.
To help the youth and children of your church to learn and listen, check out this list of books on racism and social justice organized by suggested age level from Common Sense Media. Share these with the parents of your youth and recommend that they find a book to read together as a family.
Provide your families these Diversity Activity and Discussion Guides created by Vibrant Faith. These are helpful resources for families to engage in conversations around racial diversity and equality.
Consider a movie screening at your church or with your youth specifically that helps educate and enlighten them on racism and justice. Just Mercy is currently free to stream through June on several platforms. Youth Ministers Sara Galyon and Rev. Abby Prevost have written a discussion guide to accompany youth viewing the movie Just Mercy. We recommend making parents/guardians aware of any movie or documentary viewing or recommendations that you might make with your youth.