news 3 days ago

Library, NAACP team up to teach about racism

Jacksonville Journal-Courier, Ill. — Darren Iozia Jacksonville Journal-Courier, Ill.

June 30-- Jun. 30--Jacksonville Public Library and the Jacksonville chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have teamed up to help educate children about how to talk about and deal with racism.

The partnership has resulted in a display at the library on Juneteenth, along with a selection of books on racism, protesting, civil rights and information about the Black Lives Matter movement.

"This helps provide parents with the materials to address (these issues) with children," said Doris Robinson, secretary for the Jacksonville NAACP chapter. "They may not have the background to educate their children."

With children now seeing or hearing frequent news reports about racism, it's important to give them context and an understanding of the historical events that have shaped civil rights, so they know what a racist comment is and are able to recognize systemic racism, Robinson said.

"This is a topic that can be very impactful for children," she said.

Robinson visited local mental health clinics to see if there were educational materials about racism available for children and found none, she said, noting that representatives of the facilities agreed such materials would be helpful.

"We have to find a way to support parents," she said.

The library's display is in the children's department and comes complete with materials to check out, displays to view and activities to help show children that skin color does not matter.

For example, one activity lets children make their own faces for fun, Robinson said.

"They can pick whatever eye color or skin color, but what they learn is that it still does the same thing -- eyes are made for seeing," Robinson said. "Together, they will talk about it."

Cindy Boehlke, youth services director for the library, was happy to team up with Robinson to help convey the message about what racism is and how to prevent it.

"This has grown out of the protests," Boehlke said. "It helps on how to explain to kids of all ages."

The library already had all of the materials used in the display and did not have to order any new books, Boehlke said.

"It has been checking out quite a lot," she said of people's interest in the books. "We welcome a chance to bring a new perspective."

The display is slated to be available until July 11, after which Robinson plans to have something else available to help teach the public about racism.

"We have to address it," Robinson said. "You have to know that change is needed."

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