Sharing the Injustice Boycott and Daily Action with my daughter in 2017
Injustice Boycott describes itself as “relentless, principled, organized resistance” and is aimed at fighting racial injustice, with New York City as one of its target locations. A few weeks ago, my daughter heard me “speaking” my own version of an email to Mayor De Blasio based on a sample email written by Injustice Boycott’s Shaun King, and addressing Rikers Island.
My daughter and I had talked about prisons before. In fact, it was the focus of the sign she made for the protest at Columbus Circle on the day following the election: “No more jails!”(regarding people who identify as an immigrant or as Muslim that our president-elect promised to imprison/deport).
On this day, after various questions about Rikers Island’s location, my daughter suggested,
“Let’s go to Riker’s Island with a big stick, break down the door, and let all the people out of the jail.”
“That is a great thought,” I affirmed, “But unless you are in prison, or work at Rikers Island, they don’t really let you go there. And even if we could get there, they wouldn’t let us break down the door. That’s why I am emailing the Mayor along with thousands of other people! If lots and lots of people use their voices to say ‘This isn’t fair!’, maybe the Mayor will listen and close down the jail.”
This concept of using our voices for protest and change was reinforced the other day through my participation in Daily Action, which describes itself as “resisting extremism in America, one phone call at a time.”
On that day, the daily action was to “urge your member of Congress not to kill the Office of Congressional Ethics.” My daughter overheard me making this call and I explained what I was doing by talking about the fairness of having a toy taken away from you and questioning whether it would be OK if this happened and Mami or Papi weren’t around to confirm that, indeed, having a toy grabbed out of your hands is not OK.
After leaving my message with my Congressperson, I received a text message asking me to spread the word to others. So I told my daughter that I was going to take a few minutes to “invite” friends to participate in these daily actions so that more people could use their voices to say ‘No!” to things that Trump might propose that were unfair.
“Are you inviting Gina?” my daughter inquired after the mother of a friend. “Are you inviting Mary? And Cecilia?” She named the moms of several other friends.
“Actually, no,” I replied. “Because I am not connected with those people on this thing called Facebook.”
“Send them an email then!” my daughter insisted.
Together, we composed the following email to the moms or dads of seven of her pals:
“Dear parents of of Names of Children,
I was completing my daily action to resist Trump (which are super simple actions that you receive via text everyday) and then was prompted to share with more people on Facebook so more people could take these actions…(my daughter) asked me if I was sharing with the parents of your wonderful children. I said I wasn’t because you weren’t my friends on Facebook…so she asked me to email you so that you could consider taking these actions and tell your children about them…”
In 2017, I want to be a daily model for my daughter of standing up for change. Once again, today, we talked to a store manager in a local toy store when, together, we noticed a bin of only White dolls. I want my daughter to “see” race. I want my daughter to “see” injustice. And I want her to be able to speak up and fight when she does.
Sachi Feris is a blogger at Raising Race Conscious Children, an online a resource to support adults who are trying to talk about race with young children. Sachi also co-facilitates interactive workshops/webinars and individual consultations on how to talk about race with young children. Sachi currently teaches Spanish to Kindergarten and 1st grade at an independent school in Brooklyn. Sachi identifies as White and is a mother to a four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.