The Lovers & Fighters of America is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.
Can we open young minds and hearts to the beauty of diversity when it seems like intolerance is on the rise? Is it possible to fight against racism and xenophobia when there are parents, teachers, and leaders out there in support of building a wall and creating a Muslim registry? Can we encourage the next generation to appreciate, respect, and embrace people from other cultures? (And not just those found in faraway lands, but those living in the house down the street). And, lastly, is it possible to teach children to respect and embrace others when they are being raised by people who model the opposite?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And YES! We, the teachers, aunts, and uncles. We, the grandparents, family friends, spiritual and recreational leaders. We, the village, have the ability, an obligation even, to help our children open their minds and their hearts to the world beyond their own backyard. I’m not suggesting we overtly condemn the views of their parents. I’m not implying we blatantly stand against those who are raising them. But I am saying we can, and we should, offer all children opportunities to grow, to learn, and to develop a greater understanding of other cultures and the people within them. And maybe, just maybe, today’s children will learn to embrace, and thrive within, a diverse America.
Teacher and blogger Becky Morales of Kid World Citizen offers practical tools we can use to help educate and inspire the young people in our lives.
Morales, an ESL and Spanish teacher living in Texas, is a married mother of five bilingual and multicultural kids, and founder of KidWorldCitizen.org. There, she shares her ideas, recommendations, and resources to help teach kids about world cultures and our planet through travel, food, music, celebrations, service, books, movies, maps, art, and projects.
Kid World Citizen provides a valuable collection of ideas and suggestions for those feeling concerned about the impact of the current political climate on our kids. Morales shared with Ravishly her current focus: “My goal is to help parents and teachers change the dialogue kids are surrounded by, and the current political climate only inspires me to keep pushing, keep teaching empathy, and to keep trying to reach more classrooms and homes.”
"With all of these heritage cultures in our multicultural family, we naturally began celebrating new holidays, eating new foods, and learning from communities near us."
Morales has a natural interest in the world and its many cultures, and says she has always enjoyed traveling and making friends from around the globe. When she married her husband, who’s from Mexico City, they wanted to incorporate both of their cultures and traditions into their children’s upbringing. They had two biological daughters, and then adopted a son from China; later, they adopted another son from Ethiopia, and finally, their youngest through foster care. The introduction of new cultural lessons and celebrations, within their own family unit, followed. Morales told Ravishly: “With all of these heritage cultures in our multicultural family, we naturally began celebrating new holidays, eating new foods, and learning from communities near us.”
It wasn’t long before Morales was sharing her resources, and lesson ideas, with her children’s teachers and other adoptive families. Realizing her resources were in demand, Morales decided to start her own blog as a way to share with others. She told Ravishly: “I was copying and pasting my "Chinese New Year" lesson so many times I decided it would be easier to just start a blog and refer people to whatever page they were looking for. My sister and I sat down at her kitchen table one night and plotted it out!”
Over the years, her blog has continued to grow in readership and the feedback remains positive. Morales constantly hears back from readers, especially those from rural areas. She told Ravishly: “One common email I get is from a teacher or parent in a rural area who wants to expose their kids to world cultures, but might not have the means to travel, or access to cultural events. Usually, they thank me for the ideas to help their kids engage in global learning, from home, using their computer and their library.”
In a time of concern, and emotional turmoil for many, it's practical materials, like those found at Kid World Citizen, that provide hopeful, positive, and concrete ways to make a difference for our future generations. And this is why Becky Morales, of KidWorldCitizen.org, is this week’s inspirational Lover & Fighter.
If you know an inspirational Lover & Fighter whom you’d like to see featured on Ravishly, send a message to Shannon Day, via Facebook.
Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.
These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate.