CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. Protests have erupted across the country since, sparking a new conversation about the ongoing issue of police brutality and racism. But how do you talk to your kids about these big issues?
“I’m in a very unique position as an educator, as a lawmaker, as a black woman, as the wife of a police officer,” said Congresswoman Hayes on Monday in relation to talking to kids about Floyd’s violent death and the aftermath, filled with frustration.
“I would close the door and say to my students, ‘Let’s talk about it,’ and I would give them some time, some uninterrupted time to ask their questions and share their feelings,” she explained.
“We can all do the same around our dinner tables,” said Dr. Laura Saunders of Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. “Communicate, create a dialogue….have a conversation about, ‘what is racism?’ Some people don’t even know what that is. Turn these into learning moments to treat people with love and kindness no matter the color of your skin or what their race is or where they come from or what their religion is.”
Saunders said it is important to discuss the video of Floyd’s horrific death, which has been all over the news and internet.
“It might be very troubling, and it could create fear around police and authority,” said Saunders.
Carmen Veal Conway, a lifestyle blogger and founder of Brown Skin Women, said the dialogue with black boys is different.
“Let them know that you could be the subject of racial profiling just simply by walking or driving or reading or talking on the phone,” she said, noting that she can’t stop thinking about her four nephews. “It’s hard to look them in the eye and talk about what’s happening in our reality today.”
“We need to teach children, expose them to different situations, to bring them into proximity where it’s not unusual to engage with someone who is different than you,” said Hayes.
WATCH: Congresswoman Jahana Hayes full interview with News 8 regarding speaking to your kids about the death of George Floyd
They said to make sure the children know we’re all confused and scared, but Hayes believes their generation will be the one to create real change.
“Every single one of us can play a role in getting through this. It’s scary. We have to ask questions; don’t be afraid to ask questions, but again, make a conscious choice that you will be part of the solution.”
These conversations will be hard, so parents, don’t be afraid to research and ask for guidance. But remember, the worst thing you can be is silent.