Evanston adoption agency to highlight importance of affirming Black girls, other children of color

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, February 13, 2022
Our Chicago

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Children deal with so much just in the growing up process. And when it comes to girls, there's usually the question of embracing their appearance.

They compare themselves to others, including, of course, images in the media and social media.

For girls of color, they may not see themselves always represented, celebrated and affirmed.

The effect on their self-esteem can have a lasting impact.

WATCH: Our Chicago: Affirming girls of color Part 1

On Thursday, the Cradle, a child welfare agency in Evanston providing adoption services for almost 100 years in the Chicago area, is hosting a conversation on this issue. It's called "Representation Matters: Affirming Girls of Color."

Kikanza Harris, manager of the Our Children Educational program at the Cradle, explained how they came to facilitate these kinds of conversations.

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"Several years ago, we started to get calls from our parents around the time that Trayvon Martin was killed. Around the time that Tamir Rice was killed, we started to get calls from our parents, specifically our transracial families that have adopted asking 'how do we talk to our children about what is going on?' They were starting to recognize that there's a different set of rules when it comes to Black children outside of their homes. And how do we start having those important conversations?" said Harris. "I think we can be very intentional about having these conversations with our kids, the young women in your lives. Be intentional, have that open and honest dialogue about race as we're doing with our Our Children conversations."

WATCH: Our Chicago: Affirming girls of color Part 2

Ivey Smith is a panelist and the owner of My Skin Is In. She said she founded the company for "Every shy, timid emerging woman that is trying to learn how to embrace her beauty and conquer confidence."

"Although I was different, my difference was actually what made me even more beautiful and to be able to connect with other people," said Smith. "And what happened as I started to grow up, I realized after talking to friends they had the same issues. And so the reality is that I started having conversations, and we all had some level of needing to grow and and learning how to love ourselves."

For more information on the upcoming webinar, visit www.cradle.org.