Youth-led ‘anti-racism network’ seeks to instruct Vermont K-4 children about racism

The Vermont Student Anti-racism Network (VSARN) is a youth-led group founded last summer to bring a diverse group of students together from around the state to advocate for anti-racist educations. We endeavor to make an impact by undertaking projects in schools, such as encouraging curriculum changes, statewide school policy reform, and promoting anti-racism in our K-12 schools. It is important for kids to be aware of racism at a young age especially in Vermont; with only 5.8% of the population being nonwhite it is easy for race to be overlooked in school curriculum, but racism affects everyone.

According to survey data we collected from over 200 current high school students in Vermont, 78.5% of Vermonters believe they did not receive a substantial elementary school education on race and racism. Furthermore, only 16% of Vermonters believed that they had beneficial conversations on racism in school and only 26% of students said that the characters in their elementary school classroom books had diverse representation. These results propelled us to action.

One of our current projects is helping to educate kindergarten through 4th grade students about racism and inclusion in school systems throughout Vermont. The Book Project started off with a $1,000 grant from Vermont Community Foundation (VCF). That money was used to buy 25 sets of 5 different children’s books about racism and inclusion. Our books include the following:

  • My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III
  • Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris
  • A Kids Book about Racism by Jelani Memory
  • The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

All twenty-five books were purchased from their publishers, except for one set, which Galaxy Books in Hardwick generously donated to Craftsbury Elementary School. A huge thanks to Galaxy Books for the donation! VSARN students developed lessons and activities for each book with Kindergarten teacher Alyssa Lasher and librarian Anne Brabazon. In April we did a pilot in Ms. Lasher’s kindergarten class in Hinesburg using the book My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King III. We have done a variety of lessons since, and are excited to continue the project until the summer and hopefully beyond.

One parent from The Oak Grove school followed up after a lesson to “Thank the kids who came to class to teach today for helping contextualize racism for the first graders.”

As we continue this project, we hope to help young minds develop anti-racist beliefs that they will carry with them through life. We believe that we need to start at the youngest age to promote anti-racism in our youth; raising anti-racist youth is the route to changing society.

We’d welcome any schools to get involved. Teachers or school staff please reach out to us at antiracismvtschools@gmail.com.

For Immediate Release
June 1, 2021

Contact:
Vt Student Anti-Racism Network
antiracismvtschools@gmail.com

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/All-NiteImages

8 thoughts on “Youth-led ‘anti-racism network’ seeks to instruct Vermont K-4 children about racism

  1. So, to prove my point of teaching kids the teachings of Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky from cradle to UVM an Middlebury college.

    Yet they will ban the teachings of Jesus. You can’t be racist following Jesus. If you are so blessed to be filled with the holy spirit, you get peace, love and joy.

    These are teaching of the world and madly insane men. Karl Marx about starved his children. We are teaching our children to hate and envy, surely a wide path to hopelessness and despair.

    Forgiveness and love. Learning that we are nothing, that our hearts are depraved and pride is not something to boast about might do our citixpzens and importantly our children some good.

    Vermont is once again leading us down the wrong path.

  2. How to sell “original sin” to 2nd graders” for their part in keeping the minority races down.
    If we can convince them they were guilty of things they never did, never knew, in the womb, then we have them “cowed” for life.
    They are guilty, and that makes them vulnerable for the next charlaton to tell them other stories of how they are evil, have they mistreated people they have never seen, and must hang their head forever. Do not strive, do not hope, you are simply human rubbish.

    This seems to be the same thing that the BIPOC’s tell themselves – that they were born with no future, so there is no reason for a young BIPOC to reach for the stars, to strive, to learn, to work. There will always be the tenement apartment, the friendly gang to protect yourself ,food stamps, free health care, More money for every new child, but fathers may not live with mothers and their children or they are off welfare.

  3. Not for one minute would I believe that ‘youth’ had anything to do with the development of this false narrative.
    This has progressive / liberal adult written all over it. The $1000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation would be better spent on copies of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and then develop lesson plans and discussions around those documents. I certainly hope that parents with students in the schools that become involved with this nonsense are paying attention, and stop it before it begins. Sounds like an attempt at Critical Race Theory Lite…

    • Oh if only we could “stop it before it begins”. I fear we are about 50 years too late in stamping out the Marxist indoctrination of our youth through the public education system.

  4. This is a press release form the kids……They wrote it……So they should be able to explain it and defend their work.

    With that in mind, maybe the kids can tell us how surveying 200 high school kids results in a conclusion that ” 78.5% of Vermonters believe they did not receive a substantial elementary school education on race and racism.” Exactly how was this conclusion reached?

    Looks like the kids also could use some extra some extra course work on math, analysis and logic before they’re put in charge running the Vermont public school system.

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