Raising Multicultural Kids (RMK) was founded after our co-President’s (Kelly Lamb) Kindergartener experienced multiple racial incidents at school. After reaching out to the local community for support, she found that her family was not the only one experiencing racial issues, as many kids of color began to have these experiences as early as K, 1st or 2nd grade. School-based racial incidents are a nationwide issue and certainly not unique to Easton, but our group of parents decided to take ownership of what was happening in our community in order to bring about positive change.
We respect that families come in all different shapes, sizes and directions and are committed to supporting each other, discussing school-related issues and brainstorming solutions. We not only recommend strategies and initiatives to our school partners, but also actively work alongside them to bring in resources that promote inclusion, educate on the systemic nature of racism, and teach students how to be conduits for change. Our main goal is to provide students with a multicultural education, as we believe this will help us achieve our objectives of reducing the frequency of racial incidents in school, helping families feel safe and supported within the community after an incident occurs, and educating the larger community through our work with the schools, students and staff. Fortunately, we have wonderful school and town partners, whom are not only dedicated to supporting our students of color, but also to providing a multicultural education to all of our children.
Why We Are Needed
A multicultural education helps students become racially and culturally competent, acquiring the ability to navigate and celebrate different cultures with ease. They develop the skills necessary to identify and discuss racism, and can be inspired to become an ally in the fight against injustice. Unfortunately, some of our students of color are experiencing race-based issues at school. While some offenders are actively looking to create hurt, in many cases, the harm-doer is unintentionally creating harm. Teaching students to have a multicultural mindset can prevent this unintentional damage. Studies indicate that a multicultural mindset makes people more open-minded and flexible, and enhances their creativity and problem-solving skills (1, 2). The ability to work with and understand different cultures is becoming more necessary for employment as the workforce grows more diverse and the marketplace more global. RMK’s goal is to provide all of our kids with the skills necessary to be good global citizens.
RMK is also needed to help support students and their families after a racial incident occurs. Educating the offender only deals with half of situation. It is not enough, as there also needs to be support for those who are harmed. These types of events fracture the safety and security that our students of color feel within their community, even if they were not directly targeted. Incidents can also negatively impact our white students, as studies show that witnessing racist acts can be nearly as traumatizing as being the target; making it extremely important to teach all our students how to handle these situations and seek support when they happen (3).
1. Chua R.Y.J. (2018). Innovating at the World’s Crossroads: How multicultural networks promote creativity. Journal of Management. 44(3), 1119-1146
2. Roy Y. J. Chua. (2013). The Costs of Ambient Cultural Disharmony: Indirect intercultural conflicts in social environment undermine creativity. Academy of Management Journal.56(6), 1545-1577
3. Trent, M., Dooley, D., Douge, J. (2019). Racism and Its Impact on Child and Adolescent Health: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement. Pediatrics 144(2): e20191765