SACRAMENTO — Conversations with children about racial injustice can be a difficult topic to tackle, but a new book written by psychologists could make it easier.
Doctors Ann Hazzard and Marietta Collins stood in front of about two dozen kids aged 5 to 8 years old Tuesday at Freedom Schools at John Stills Middle School in Sacramento.
“What this book illustrates is the importance of open conversation between black people and white people with people of other races and ethnicities,” Collins said.
The book “Something Happened In Our Town” tells the story of two families — one black and one white — discussing a police shooting of an unarmed black man in their neighborhood.
It has bold lines like, “The cops shot him because he was black” and “I could get stopped by police because I’m black, even if I did nothing wrong.”
“When we’ve read it to children most children still have a positive overall view of police, but we did feel like it was necessary to make the point that policemen aren’t perfect,” Hazzard said.
In the audience was the younger sister of Stephon Clark, the unarmed man who was fatally shot by two Sacramento police officers in March, and their grandmother Sequita Thompson.
“I felt really good, proud, that for my grandson’s sake that people now will be able to read and teach their kids,” Thompson told FOX40.
Thompson lives just blocks away from the school. Clark was shot and killed in her backyard.
The book was released a short time after Clark’s death. Thompson says she read the book to her granddaughter several times after the shooting.
“Let these kids know they can fight for justice,” Thompson said. “They can say, ‘Hey, we are going to fight.'”
Both authors believe the book is for families of all backgrounds but say it’s especially important for white families to take time to read together.
“We are the guys that got this thing going, we need to be more involved in solving it,” Hazzard said. “And part of that is owning our part in the past and being proactive in the future.”