In today’s video, you will hear two of our Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) leaders share their thoughts and feelings about the recent events that have taken place in America. We have been actively involved in a powerful, open conversation with our youth of all ages during our weekly virtual meetings. It is fascinating to hear what they think and feel. I believe that the future is in good hands. After sharing our feelings of despair, shock, and anger, we have been looking for ways to contribute, now. 

There is so much to learn and I know many of us have been faced with this question: Where do I begin? When we are faced with these violent acts, it can make us feel like there is nothing we can do to fight the enormity of it as one person. This is natural, but it should not stop us from taking action to do our part. Some of the world’s most important achievements were done by regular people who decided that inaction was simply unacceptable. We all collectively contribute to what is happening in our world. It’s our choice to do our small part to improve society or to just sit and watch as things get worse, hoping that the problem does not come to our own door someday.  

Our Youth of Unity leader, Lauren Garcia, gives us great advice: Educate yourself, do research, join groups, join peaceful protests, watch documentaries, make friends with people from other cultures and races. 

In doing my own research, I have learned so many things that I can do to help my own children and our youth ministry children. Today, I would like to share some of them with all of you:

Did you know that even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape, and hair texture? Here’s how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion, even with very young children:

  • Don’t shush or shut them down if they mention race.
  • Don’t wait for kids to bring it up.
  • Be proactive, helping them build positive awareness of diversity.
  • When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
  • You don’t have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.

The following is the best, most inclusive list of steps and actions we can take as parents and educators that I have found so far. I have personally joined this movement and encourage you to find one to join. 

What inspires me the most about working with our youth is being a witness to their connection to God. I wholeheartedly believe that one person who is connected to God, to Spirit, is more powerful than millions who are not. As Gabe said: “The path to improvement is never a straight line”.  These two “mantras” have helped us a lot during these challenging times. I hope they help you as well. 

In Unity we stand.

Namaste,

Janice