Get your kids ready for classmate’s comments about Dreamers

We are all talking about it. We are outraged.

Trump is ending DACA. He says Dreamers have nothing to worry about, but nobody is comforted.

Believe that kids are talking about it too. Kids in your kid’s classroom are talking about it. And we don’t know what kind of information they have, what they are learning from their parents. But you can make sure that your child is equipped with the right information. You can teach them to recognize racist BS when they hear it and you can even practice with them about how to respond. (Really we all should be practicing, getting better, and responding more. Silence is violence.)

Jared Bernstein gives some economic information about the benefits that Dreamers contribute to society, but I like his article because he emphasizes that we can’t stop there, we can’t equate a person’s value with their economic contribution. So go there, make sure you and your kids have correct information you can counter argue with, but let’s expand from there.

When we talk about Dreamers we are talking about people, whole people. Somehow this always gets lost in the debates. They are not the sum of their contributive parts.

So together, with your kids, add some depth to your understanding, to your empathy, to your outrage of the situation. Explore some of the ways Dreamers and undocumented citizens have chosen to share and express themselves.

  • Things I’ll Never Say is a “platform for undocumented young people across the country to create our own immigration narratives by boldly sharing our personal experiences through various forms of creative expression.” Here you will find videos where people share their personal stories, poetry, and art.

 

  • The mission of Define American is to change the conversation about immigration and immigrants, from all over the world. They do this through media creation, organizing a film festival with panel discussions, providing a space for people to tell their personal stories and publishing it online. In all modalities, the voices of undocumented citizens are centered.

 

  • Ella Mendoza shares Art as Resistance: 7 Undocumented Artists You Want to Follow. The intersectionality of the choices pushes the boundaries of the stereotypical immigrant portrayal and in this way is a counter-narrative to the dehumanizing efforts being made by any anti-Latinx immigrant. Because it gives several examples of undocumented citizens who are activists, and directly using their art as activism, it greatly expands on the typical victim narrative.

 

  • Yosimar Reyes highlights 10 Undocumented Artists You Should Know (And Support). Don’t think if you opened Mendoza’s link that you’ve probably seen what’s in here. Because you haven’t. In this piece you’ll find artists, poets, songwriter/singers, and film makers.

With just these four recommendations there is a lot of content, a lot to explore, but it is well worth your time. It is also worth the extra time to go through it, bit by bit, with your kid. And talk about it as you do. Ask eachother what surprises you, what did you learn, how has your perception of undocumented citizens changed?

We all need to look critically at our assumptions, our biases, our stereotypes, and we need to teach our kids how to do the same. Counter negative messages you come across, model for your kids. But also give your kids a chance to brainstorm with you how to respond to comments their classmates are saying, the more prepared they are the better advocates and allies they can be.

Also, it is entirely possible that someone in your kid’s class is an undocumented citizen or has a mixed-status family, and they might benefit from knowing that your kid is in their corner.

 

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