The Conscious Kid and The Loveland Foundation are two organizations that have been supporting the Black community through education and mental health, respectively. We are excited to donate 5% of our June proceeds* to help amplify their impact in the community. During these tumultuous times, when many people are reaching out to these organizations for greater education and resources, we are so thankful that The Conscious Kid could carve out some time to chat with us. Read on to learn more from our chat with Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens, as well as, about The Loveland Foundation.
The Conscious Kid
The idea for The Conscious Kid was conceived four years ago when Katie, who is Japanese, and Ramón, who is Black, were living in Long Beach, California. Like many parents, they were on the hunt for engaging and relevant books for their own two children. They were disappointed to find that in a library with tens of thousands of books, the librarian could only pull out three that featured Black children. What unsettled them further was that two of them were written by White women and the other had “a problematic narrative about a mother praying to God for her kid not to have textured hair”. When Katie and Ramón reached out to their own friends, they found that they were encountering the same challenges with finding books that had characters reflecting their children’s skin colors and shared diverse narratives.
To address this gap, The Conscious Kid sought to highlight and amplify the narratives that are truly authentic and diverse. It began as a lending library, with Katie and Ramón shipping the books to parents’ doorsteps. They would provide pre-paid postage so that parents could ship it back and then get another set the following month. As a new parent, they understood the challenge of doing thorough due diligence and research on these books, so the idea was to take this burden off of new parents who are eager to provide representative and authentic stories to their children.
Since then, Katie and Ramón have grown The Conscious Kid into a much more robust education, research, and policy organization that is dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. The children’s books are now serving as both a tool and initiating point for parents to have a greater conversation. On the education front, they are teaching a course about Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Media Literacy at UC San Diego. This course explores racial narratives within mainstream media and how it shapes one's racial understandings of themselves and the world at large. Not only does this course examine racial representation within the media, it examines who controls, creates, benefits and profits from these mainstream racial narratives.
Their research and policy work has also influenced the National Education Association who hosts Read Across America Day every year and is “the largest annual celebration of reading across the country”. It had been historically celebrated on March 2nd, the birthday of author Ted Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. But 2 years ago Katie and Ramón shared their research on Dr. Seuss’ disturbingly racist history with the organizers, convincing them to move away from the association with Dr. Seuss and instead leveraging the occasion to share more diverse books and stories.
In light of recent events, The Conscious Kid has raised over $400,000 for a COVID-19 Rent Relief fund, sending over $250,000 to Black families. Currently, they are focusing their efforts on the Anti-Racist Children’s Books Education Fund, where they have already collected over $650,000. The money will go towards bringing anti-racist children's books to schools across the US, prioritizing Title I schools that serve low income communities and communities of color.
By supporting The Conscious Kid, we are helping to promote access to children’s books in underrepresented groups and increasing availability of anti-racist books in curriculum all across the country.
The Loveland Foundation
Rachel Cargle founded The Loveland Foundation in 2018 to continue her widely successful birthday wish fundraiser, Therapy for Black Women and Girls, which raised over $250,000 to support Black women and girls nationally to receive therapy support.
The Loveland Foundation is the official continuation of this effort to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls. Through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more, ultimately it hopes to contribute to both the empowerment and the liberation of the Black women and girls community.
Did You Know?
According to the US HHS Office of Minority Health,
• Adult Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites
• African American females, grades 9-12, were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.
• Black/African Americans hold beliefs related to stigma, psychological openness, and help-seeking, which in turn affects their coping behaviors
Learn More From Rachel Cargle
• TedTalk “Coming to Terms With Racism's Inertia: Ancestral Accountability”
• The Washington Post ‘I Refuse to Listen to White Women Cry’
• Harper’s Bazaar - When Feminism Is White Supremacy in Heels
• Instyle - What It Means to Be Actively Anti-Racist
We chose to support The Loveland Foundation because of their continued effort to support Black women and girls in getting access to the healing they deserve.
These are two amazing organizations out of many that are sharing invaluable resources and doing incredible work to elevate the Black community. What other causes are you interested in and who are you following? We'd love to learn more about the organizations you're passionate about in the comments below.
* 5% of June proceeds from all domestic orders will be donated to The Conscious Kid and The Loveland Foundation
** The Conscious Kid artwork by Rafael Lopez, The Loveland Foundation's Rachel Cargle photo by Allie Holloway