Guest Post by Melody McAllister
What is the Black Lives Matter Movement? We see #BLM everyday. It brings comfort to some and stacks up walls for others. There is so much misinformation out there, so join us as we explore a book that helps us understand this movement in an inviting and honest chat with its author, Hedreich Nichols. Hedreich Nichols is a mother, educator, edtech instructional leader, speaker and host of her weekly YouTube program: Small Bites.
A Place To Start
If you are new to the journey of learning to be more anti-racist, Hedreich’s children’s book is a great place to start. It goes through the history of how Black People were enslaved, then through the Jim Crow era, and how Black People still face prejudice and discrimation today. The author, Hedreich Nichols, is an amazing educator who uses updated photos and clear language to help young readers. She emphasizes how this is not a problem we faced and defeated many years ago, but is something personal to her and millions of others.
Conversations regarding the Black Lives Matter movement are often filled with high emotions. Hedreich advises to go beyond the first few articles in the Google Search that are filled with propaganda. This is NOT a terrorist organization. It’s an organization fighting for “others” and ALL. As a White person, I used to feel so defensive. I used to say, “I didn’t do anything.” Or “This oppression isn’t my fault.” But what I couldn’t grasp is that breaking down the walls of injustice is every single person’s responsibility. If we want to see a country that truly has equality under our laws, where men and women won’t face harsher police treatment because they are Black and Brown, then we must all accept the challenge of growing in our anti-racist practices.
Keep On Learning
We talk about this in our chat, but we can’t keep starting over with every generation. Too many lives have already been lost or broken. What is the Black Lives Matter Movement? is a great place for adults to start to understand as well as young people. What if we stopped trying to blame others and just started to do better? That is possible. I used to be a person who failed to see how my thoughts and actions perpetuated racism. I thought I was doing everything right. But the truth is I was not listening to my brothers and sisters of Black and Brown skin. I was trying to make sense of their lives through the lens of my own life and their experiences never added up in my mind.
Fortunately, I had a friend who broke through the barriers and whom I could ask and learn from. Maybe you don’t have a Black friend or maybe you do, but you are too afraid to ask and don’t even know where to begin. That’s why What is the Black Lives Matter Movement? Is such a great place to start. No matter your age, you will grasp more understanding if you read it with an open mind and heart. You will begin to use the language necessary to continue learning on your own. You will also be giving your children and students a place where they can talk about their own life experiences without being shut down.
Hedreich hosts a weekly YouTube Program called “Small Bites” where she helps educators get deeper into anti-racist practices no matter what area they are teaching in or where they are in this journey. Follow her and learn from her! She welcomes all of us, and she loves to hear how her work is helping others. Contact her through her socials if you are interested in her for speaking engagements, as well!
About The Author
Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. She and her family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019. McAllister is 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year and author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children’s book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies. She is also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing. McAllister has spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and writes about her journey in her blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com. Join her weekly BookChats every Wednesday at bit.ly/mjmcalliwrites or youtube.com/mrsalicekeeler.