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Ending Police Brutality: SIS Family Action Toolkit
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Ending Police Brutality

At-Home Family Action Toolkit

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Coordinated by members of  the Student Ignition Society & Raising the Resistance in collaboration with our partners:

The Philly Children’s Movement

Wee The People

 MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships


Hey grownups,        3

Kid-Friendly Word Bank        4

Be A Poet Advocate        5

Getting Started Guide - Writing Advocacy Poems        6

8 Talking Points For Families        7

Caregiver Companion Letter Templates        8

Pre-Writers & Visual Advocates: Make a Collage        9

Writers: Write A Poem For Your Neighbor        10

Kid-Friendly Collaborative Action Bingo        11

Where Can We Learn More? Additional Resources:        12

Accountability & Contributions        13

Hey grownups,

The kids can tell that something sneaky is going on.

We tell them that hitting isn’t okay. We tell them that no person or group has the right to harm another without consequences. We tell them coercion, humiliation, punishment, and violence never solves anything and that good people don’t do those things. But that’s not the truth - not yet.

The truth is - we rely on a system that functions on coercion, humiliation, punishment, and violence. Bad stuff! We avoid talking about our policing, judicial, and prison systems and how they target and kill marginalized people. We ignore how these systems consolidate power to those who already have plenty.

We’re telling our kids: Do no harm (except when you have power, in which case - do whatever the heck you want.) Trust the authorities to protect you (but look away when they hurt others). We’re forcing kids to suffer cognitive dissonance - training them to stay silent when they see people hurting. And it’s damaging their little brains! This is abuse!

Our US policing system was created to control Black Americans when we could no longer profit from chattel slavery. And it’s adapted to the times - now that most people think overt racism is tawdry, our systems have had to adapt. Our laws are still designed to maintain inequity - but now they’re more subtle. So subtle that it’s easy to pretend nothing is icky or unfair about them.

We tell ourselves that police brutality is a ‘one bad apple’ problem to excuse our  looking away. No! The entire system is designed to intimidate, subjugate, and oppress marginalized people for profit.

This isn’t okay. Our grownup brains have grown accustomed to this mess, and it hurts. But our kids don’t have to hurt. Kids can’t feel safe or trust us when we omit the truth and gaslight them. So we have to help them build a better world where we all hurt less.

If we want our kids to value honesty - we must have conversations about police brutality. If you need tools for hard-but-honest conversations, start with the age-appropriate steps in this toolkit to break the cycle and end this violence.

Support your children in being the kind and courageous people they want to be.

In solidarity,

Ashia Ray of Raising Luminaries

Jennifer Bradley of The Philly Children’s Movement

Carmen R. & Monica R. of Raising The Resistance

April B. of the Student Ignition Society

Elena Belle White of MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships (CACP)

Kid-Friendly Word Bank

Words can have many meanings. These are some of the ideas we think of when we use words in this toolkit.

Be A Poet Advocate

“We are building a movement and we want your words to inspire others to speak out and stand up for what is fair and just!”
- Jennifer Bradley, Philly Children’s Movement

Power + Justice + Unity + Circle + Listen + Stand + Heal + Respect

We invite you to create an advocacy poem in solidarity with people targeted by police brutality using these eight words.

Be an advocate - think global, act local.

  1. Read and discuss the Talking Points with a friend or grownup before creating your poems.
  2. Focus on how we think and talk while we create. Trying to make things perfect is a sneaky tool of supremacy. This is about the people you want to support, it’s not about us - or who we want to impress.
  3. You can use the words in any order. Add as many other words as you’d like, but try to include all 8 of these.
  4. Share your poem on social media using the hashtag #FamilyDayOfAction to show your neighborhood you will not accept police brutality.
  5. Share your art with a local member of your neighborhood - a friend, a neighbor, or family member.

    It can be uncomfortable to talk about this with people we like - what if they disagree? But people you care about need to hear the truth in a way that
    only you can share.
  6. Find tips for poets, caregivers, and pre-writers & visual poets in the Getting Started Guide.

This exercise was developed by CACP/sparc!'s Teaching Artist in Residence, Lewis Morris

Getting Started Guide - Writing Advocacy Poems

For Caregivers:

For Pre-Writers & Visual Poets

For Writers:

8 Talking Points For Families

It may seem like your voice as a kid isn’t important or powerful enough to stop the police from hurting people. Here is a secret...adults often feel this way too. But it’s not true! Your voice matters just as much as any adult.

And here’s another secret…to us, your voice matters more. As a kid-leader, you’re the person who decides how the world will run when you grow up. Now is the time to demand the future you want to live in! Tell us grownups, so we can help you make it happen.

If this feels like it’s all too big to tackle, I get that - I feel that way too. Kids from all generations have fought for justice - and they won. We can do it again.

Change always starts small. Start by talking about the questions below with a trusted grownup.

One of the best ways to start making change is to tell the people in our life how we feel about the things that feel unfair.

  1. What have you been told is the job of the police? Who benefits from the police system?
  2. How does our police system harm people of color- particularly Black people?
  3. How do you feel about police after hearing about brutality?
  4. Lots of people say things like “not all police are mean!” - especially if they know police officers in real life. Do you think it’s possible to be a “nice” police officer and still do things that cause people harm?
  5. Why is it our job to pay attention to how the police treat people without power?
  6. What are some ways that people in our neighborhood can prevent and respond to emergencies other than calling the police?
  7. Think about a time when you were treated unfairly. What do you wish the people in your neighborhood had said or done when that happened?
  8. How do you feel when you think about talking with neighbors about police brutality? What do you think might happen if you talk to them about this? What might happen if you don’t?

Caregiver Companion Letter Templates

How to start talking to our neighbors about police brutality

Dear [Neighbor],

Hello! How are you? I hope that all is well!

You may be wondering about [kid’s name]’s latest project. As a favorite neighbor, they are excited to share it with you.

You have probably seen the recent stories in the news about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, three Black people recently killed by police brutality and vigilantes. This comes at a time in which Black and Latinx people are impacted by COVID-19 at drastically higher rates than average. I can understand why so many people are hurt, angry, and reeling in a time like this.

Although these facts are difficult, [kid’s name] and I have been having age-appropriate discussions about them. It’s important to us that they trust adults to tell them the truth about who is hurting - so we can help with the healing. Even when these talks are hard.

Part of what we are talking about is how these deaths - both the ones from violent acts by police and those caused by COVID-19 - are all part of an unfair system that we’ve all grown used to. [Kid’s name] doesn’t want to get used to it. They want something better. I support them in that.

It’s hard to learn that there is so much injustice in our country. I want [kid’s name] to find hope and know that they have power to learn about and change things. That is why, in addition to talking with [kid’s name] about the challenges people of color have to face in our country, I am supporting their creativity on how to navigate hard conversations within our own neighborhood. Which is scary!

Not telling them what to believe - but how to think critically about current events, write letters, and peacefully share their ideas. You may have noticed our [bingo actions] outside the other day.

We talked about who in our neighborhood might be safe to share their ideas with - and [kid’s name] thought of [you/your family]. I really appreciate having a receptive role model like you in our neighborhood!

Meanwhile, I’m still learning about all of these issues myself. If you ever want a friendly person to talk about this with, we’d love to chat and exchange helpful resources.

Mix it up: For the caregiver of a child’s friend or classmate:

[Friend’s name] is such a special friend and [my kid’s name] wanted to know how they feel about this important issue. If you’re open to our kids talking about their feelings and ideas together, here is a link to a kid-friendly toolkit ( that made it easier for us. Hopefully they can make a difference together!

Pre-Writers & Visual Advocates: Make a Collage

8 Words:

Power + Justice + Unity + Circle + Listen + Stand + Heal + Respect

  1. Discuss the 8 Talking Points for Families with a friend or your grownup.
  2. Gather:
  1. A large piece of paper or cardboard - this will be your ‘canvas’
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue or tape
  4. Your favorite craft supplies
    (Ideas: broken toys, catalogues, fabric scraps, twigs and flowers, tin foil, bottle caps)
  1. Think about what the 8 words above mean to you.
  1. If you’re unsure of what a word means, your grownup can help by using the Word Bank.
  1. Cut out each word or have a grownup help you.
  2. Attach each word to your canvas with your glue or tape.
  1. As you attach each word, talk about how this idea can help us fight police brutality.
  1. Decorate your words with your craft supplies.
  2. Sign your collage with your first name, age, and city.
  3. Post on social media with #FamilyDayofAction.
  4. Choose a neighbor to show your collage to.
  1. Ask your grownup to include a companion letter if you’d like support.

Writers: Write A Poem For Your Neighbor

Write a poem that includes these 8 words:

Power + Justice + Unity + Circle + Listen + Stand + Heal + Respect

  1. Discuss the  8 Talking Points for Families  with a friend or caregiver.
  2. Think about what the 8 words above mean to you.
  1. If you’re unsure of what a word means, an adult can help you by using the word bank in this toolkit.
  1. You can use the words in any order. Add as many other words as you’d like, but try to include all 8 of these.
  1. If you’re unsure how to start, think about your answers to these questions:
    What do I believe? What needs to stop? What could we do together?
  1. Sign your poem with your first name, age, and city.
  2. Post on social media with #FamilyDayOfAction if you’d like us to see it.
  3. Choose a neighbor to share your collage with.
  1. Ask your grownup to include a letter companion letter if you’d like support.

Kid-Friendly Collaborative Action Bingo

We learn that our actions matter by doing. Choose five actions to complete within the next five weeks and put them on your calendar!

Talk with a family member:
What does it mean to


‘The Rabbit Listened’

Pretend with stuffies:
What does
look like?

**Listen to the Wee The People playlist
 How does each song make you feel?

Practice listening to three people this week.

What did you learn?

Ask someone younger than you:
How do we work together in UNITY?

The Araboolies of Liberty Street

Make signs for your stuffies and action figures to hold a toy protest

Listen to
On the Corner
Think about:
Who are
you here for?

Take a pledge to support and include people with less power than you.

Ask a friend:
What does it mean to

Watch The Smallest Girl In the Smallest Grade and The Youngest Marcher

Make a plan:
 3 things could you do when a friend is in danger?

Ask a friend:
“When you are getting picked on - how could I help?”

Donate $5 to
National Bail Out

Ask a neighbor what JUSTICE means to them

Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Write a poem What does JUSTICE mean to you?

Chalk The Walk What do you want people to know and do right now?

Write the names of people killed by police in public & read aloud

Ask someone you love:
What does it mean to HEAL?

Something Happened In Our Town

Draw a picture: When you feel hurt, what helps you heal?

Ask a friend what helps
them heal

Ask a friend if they are willing to talk about Something Happened In Our Town with you.

These ideas (and more) inspired by: The Philly Children’s Movement’s Family Day of Action,
 Wee The People & MassArt’s Center for Art & Community Partnership’s Wee Chalk The Walk.

Where Can We Learn More? Additional Resources:

Kid-Friendly Activities



Practice with an adult

Support #OwnVoices Organizations

Children’s Books - Keep reading, keep having these conversations

More Book Collections

Resources for Educators & Caregivers

Accountability & Contributions

This is a living document updated by members of the Student Ignition Society (SIS), the Education Community within Raising Luminaries.. We need your help - join the SIS community & contribute to our next toolkit!

The impetus for this toolkit originated in support of the Philly Children’s Movement home-based day of action for families to respond in the wake of the brutalization and murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, which inspired Wee The People & MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships (CACP),  Wee Chalk The Walk #FamilyDayOfAction. Activities, inspired these initiatives, and in particular, advocacy poem exercise was developed by CACP/sparc!'s Teaching Artist in Residence, Lewis Morris.

Contributors to toolkit include members of Raising the Resistance: (Monica R., Carmen R., Stacy F.), The Student Ignition Society (April B., Alison L., Kerry P., Ashia R.)

With special thanks to Zetta Elliott for her 8 word poem to inspire young poets:

let the circle be unbroken

let us rise with new resolve

to stand guard over the fallen

who have earned respect at last


let justice roll down like water

and cleanse our wounds so we may heal

let the world pause to bear witness

to our fearsome unity


let us listen amidst the chaos

for our ancestors’ command

urging us to seize the power 

we have been too long denied

Zetta Elliott

Author of Say Her Name & A Place Inside of Me: A Poem To Heal The Heart

Document originated: 05/28/20  (Ashia R..) Last updated: 6/13/20  (Ashia R.) in accordance with the Raising Luminaries Foundational Honesty Statement & Guidelines for Accountability.