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Hello everyone! As you are hopefully aware, February is Black History month! Did you know that the origins of Black History Month date back to 1915, when historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
Beginning in 1926 the group sponsored a National Negro History week in the second week of February. The second week of February coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. By the late 1960s this had evolved into Black History Month on several college campuses.
In 1976 President Ford officially recognized Black History month. He called upon the public to, "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Well, we are excited to seize that opportunity with you today!
I had the great honor of interviewing Alexandria Scott, the creator of Ditto Kids Magazine. If you haven't heard of Ditto Kids, it is a magazine created to help parents in teaching their children (and perhaps themselves) about anti-racism. If you click on the link it will take you to the website where you can subscribe to the magazine and check out their blog!
I've had the privilege of calling Alex my friend since we met our freshman year of college. If I could use any one word to describe Alex, it would be passionate. She is passionate about what she believes in, and puts in the time and effort to bring what she wants to fruition. So, it was really exciting to me to be able to interview her!
So without further ado, here is our interview with Alexandria Scott of Ditto Kids Magazine!
1. What led you to create Ditto kids magazine?
I had an experience when my oldest was 3 when she heard something racist from another child and it affected her self-esteem a lot, and then she also began parroting what she heard. I began creating some basic resources that I and others could use but eventually I realized the need for a physical, well-made printed resource for kids and parents.
2. I think there are many people who would like to teach their children anti-racism, but feel overwhelmed with everything they're already juggling. What is your advice to them about how to start now?
That's exactly why I started Ditto Kids :) We are trying to do our best as parents by our kids, but there's only so many hours in the day. The magazine is designed to be used slowly and as a springboard for new conversations with open-ended questions and new concepts. Truly, it's not so much a magazine as it is a curriculum supplement of sorts.
Additionally, as you as a parent read the magazine with your child, it will hopefully start to become easier and more natural for you to work consistent conversations into your life and the activities you already do.
I would also say examine your priorities and see if there are areas where you're expending more time and energy than is maybe needed. I think that anti-bias education and learning a more decolonized world history and perception is very important to our world.
3. What do you suggest people do, especially during Black history month to learn more about the experience of BIPOC in America?
I feel like living in and creating the norm of an inclusive community in your life is very important. Your kids are watching and taking cues as to who and what is the norm in yours and their lives. If your kids and family are in a diverse environment, they will learn.
I would also suggest advocating for curriculum reform in your local schools. It's almost always the case that Black Americans history begins with slavery and revolves around civil rights and struggle- and while that is an important history to learn, that isn't the crux of the Black experience. There is so so much history from the African Diaspora that needs to be taught. Kids always learn in school about ancient European History and even South American and Asian history but there is always a gaping hole around ancient African history. I think a fuller history is necessary to understand the Black experience.
As far as specifically during Black History month, look around you! Dig deeper into Black history in your local area! Our family lives near enough to the Benjamin Banneker museum and historic park. Many state and local parks have Black history sites. Head to your library and do a bit of research. I find that what is closest is a great way to start learning.
(Here is a link to eight virtual exhibits, published by Smithsonian Magazine last June. Some are still available to view!)
4. You have several posts on your blog of suggested books for people to read to learn more of different cultures. How do you suggest people go about getting those books made more easily available in their local libraries (including school libraries!)
In my experience, libraries love suggestions. They want to know what people want to read because they want people to check out the books! Some schools and communities have inclusion, diversity, anti-racism or anti-bias action groups. If enough people want books, libraries are generally very happy to order!
5. What are some of your favorite books about historical BIPOCs that we can read?
The "Little Leaders* series is a great intro! (See below for a list of books you can purchase!)
6. What do your kids think of the magazine, and having their mom be the creator of it?
Good question. They think it's cool but they're so young and so to them, they've normalized all my projects and schemes haha
7. What do you suggest to people who want to start their own business? Where should they start?
Know that you'll probably fail a couple times. This isn't my first business! I had a business with a friend for a few years that didn't work out. But that gave me so much insight into what I personally enjoyed doing and also how I wanted to structure my business to provide me the flexibility I wanted as the mom of a young family.
I'd also say figure out who your market is and do market research. Also be smart about what you can DIY by yourself and for how long and what you can't. In this day and age, visuals are so important but you still have to stick to your budget. You've got to be smart! I'd also say don't be afraid to reach out to some influencers etc. to send your product to. You'll get a lot of no's and that's fine but you need people with established voices to help build your brand presence and every person counts!
We just want to thank Alex for doing this interview with us! Linked below are the Little Leaders books she talked about, as well as a few other book suggestions for you to get to share with your children!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!