EDITOR’S NOTE: City Dads Group is working with longtime partner Dove Men+Care to create “how to” videos for the grooming products company’s “Dads Care” campaign. We will be featuring the videos and scripts our members appear in. This one features Jason Greene of our NYC Dads Group talking about how to get your children involved with causes and activism.
Before I had children, I was on that social trajectory of looking at the world differently and wanting it to be better for everyone. Then when I had kids, I not only had a desire to see the world become better, but to be part of the change that pushes it forward. There’s a long road ahead of fighting against racism, homophobia, and for gender equality. They are not problems that will be solved overnight. One way to fight for these causes short term and long term is to get kids involved. I don’t want my kids to rest comfortably in their white privilege and I want my girls to have the same opportunities my boys have. And I want them to feel safe in their classrooms. So we march, protest, and challenge people to change.
When I speak to my kids about racism and gender equality, I hold little back. Their black and brown classmates, friends, and neighbors don’t have the luxury to hold back and my kids shouldn’t either. When I take them to Black Lives Matter protests, they aren’t raising their fists and chanting because their daddy makes them. They’re going because they know the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Marbery, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Treyvon Martin and too many more. They know that 1 in 3 women experience abuse. I’ve told them women on average make less than men for doing the same job. We’ve talked about the long history of violence towards the gay and lesbian community.
My hope is that my kids will not be the way I was growing up and that they’ll be better and more socially evolved. That when they hear a racist joke, they will speak up against it. I want my boys to respect women and my girls to be respected. When they see a person threatened because of who they are attracted to, they become the person’s advocate. I want them to be brave and address the many faces of intolerance.
Whitney spoke the truth when she sang, “Children are the future.” When I go to rallies and see kids participating, it gives me hope. It causes me to think we’ll be in good hands. For now, we make posters, they go with me to vote, and we learn the names of people.
To answer the question at the begging of this video,” How to get kids involved in activism?” You lead them. Activism starts in the home. If there is an injustice, you say something and do something. Kids will see that and learn from it.
A version of this first appeared on One Good Dad. Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash