Struggling to find resources that affirm the identity of your Black or Brown children/students?
Don't miss out on some dope products & resources we've researched for you this month!
Your monthly access to identity-affirming resources!
Hi All!

Happy May! As you can see, our newsletter has a new look.  I will no longer be using Tumblr to create our newsletter since it was not the most appealing format to share resources and products with you all. If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about a product/resource, just click on the image provided next to the description.  Missed our previous two newsletters? You can still access them here.  

In terms of this month, you all have put me to work, but it was all worth it! Below is a list of how this month's newsletter is categorized along with a brief description:

April #MRMcontest Winner 
Check out who won our contest in April and how I used participants' feedback to drive some of our research in this month's newsletter.

Our literature category has been renamed #MRMbookfaves.  This is the hashtag I use to highlight books I come across that I have either read or would want to read.  A range of books are shared from children to adult.  Books for youth that have leading Black and Brown characters taking on various roles is important to MRM since we support products that support the development of healthy racial and cultural identities. In addition, providing parents, teachers, and other adults  reading materials to help them become better at advocating and supporting their kids is also just as important.  Finally, in case you were wondering, we support independent, progressive bookstores and publishers. We only resort to mainstream companies if it is our only option. 

We know kids learn a great deal through play, such as developing problem-solving, analytical, and social skills.  The types of toys children play with also sends them subtle messages about how society views and groups people in both positive and negative ways. Providing Black and Brown kids with toys that look like them may seem like such a small thing, but can have a positive impact on how children begin to develop an understanding of self.  In this section, you will find toys, games, and apps that place our youth at the center of their product.

Apparel & Other FInds
Every once in a while, I come across some fun and unique finds that affirm our Black and Brown youth in ways we don't often see in the mainstream market.  I hope you enjoy what I've discovered this month!

Tools to empower and build the confidence of our Black and Brown youth are necessary and important given all the negative messages they receive about themselves on a daily basis.  This month's focus was on mentoring programs for Black boys.

Curricula Material
Whether you are a parent, teacher, social worker, etc. we all play a role in educating our children.  I know, firsthand, finding educational materials that center the racial and cultural identities of our families is not always easy to find.  Therefore, I hope the resources shared here will help ease some tension and free up your time for having to search for these much needed tools.

Articles You Luv'd
On Facebook, I share a great deal of informational articles.  If you are looking for tips on topics such as, how to have conversations with kids about race, ways to support dual language development, etc., then you may want to take a look at what I have found here for you!

Who's Talk'n About Race?
This is a new category I added this month.  The purpose is to highlight organizations or individuals whose mission is to educate others on the impact of racism and implicit bias on our youth and provide tools and strategies around perspective shifting and systemic practice and policy changes. 

Peace & Love,

Chemay Morales-James
My Reflection Matters

April #MRMcontest Winner
Our Facebook #MRMcontest winner for April went to Sal Ramirez! Sal won himself a signed copy of Dr. David Kirkland's A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black Men. In order to enter your name in our drawing, we asked you all to post you response to the following question: What types of products/resources do you struggle to find the most for your Black/Brown kid(s)/Students? Your responses were insightful and are being used to drive our research. In fact, the following responses were used to help find some of the resources shared in this month's newsletter:

"I struggle to find books that reflect the children. I struggle to find LEGO people that is multi-cultural"
-Daseta Gray

"I struggle to find toys and figurines that are culturally diverse for my 2 sons."
-Bita Morales-Davis

"Finding videos that depict a truthful history."
-Sal Ramirez

"I struggle to find program mentors for boys."
-Bishop Lopez

" I struggle to find programs geared towards supporting black children and incorporates Afrocentric principles."
-Kathy Turner Taylor

Afraid you may miss our next contest? Sign up here  to receive contest and other news announcements.

Young Readers
Tired of the stereotypical princess story lines in many kids' texts? Click on Frida for for a list of anti-princess books with leading Latina heroines that give your kids someone to look up to. 

Inspired from his personal experiences growing up in a small, urban neighborhood riddled with poverty and crime, Tyrell Zimmerman writes about a boy who, with the support of his mother, was able to become a hero and role model in his community.  

The Adventures of Kayden Bundle includes two reading books and an activity book. The books are intentionally centered around a Black character who is differently abled and the life lessons he learns on his adventures, such as bullying.

Names are personal and culturally reflect our heritage and community ties.  I See Me!  offers parents the opportunity to personalize books and other items with your child’s unique name, especially for those of us whose names are underrepresented in the mainstream marketplace.

Mature Readers
As a teenager, the only magazines I had available to me were covered with images of young women that did not look like me nor were they able to give me advice about hair, skin-care, and make-up that spoke to my skin and hair type. CRWN makes a great gift for any young Black or Brown youth in search for a magazine that affirms who they are! Click here to read the Huffpost Review.
Enjoy CRWN Teacher/Group Discounts!
  • 10% off Bulk orders of 50 or more copies 
  • 15% off Bulk orders over 100                                                         

The novel, Deo Vindice: The Resurrection, "is about one man’s obsession to right the wrongs of a horrible racial injustice by empowering its victims to take matters into their own hands.“ 

This ‪#‎MRMbookfave‬ sounds like a good read for high schoolers and an opportunity for educators to get students to reflect and imagine how they would rewrite history. Read here to learn more about the book and author. 

Need help developing teachers into critically conscious educators, particularly those who serve Latino youth? Check out 
Angela Valenzuela ’s new book, Growing Critically Conscious Teachers.  

Christopher Emdin ’s new book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest Ya’ll Too, is an art piece and a must read for educators and even parents! Emdin creatively outlines how we've been socially conditioned to adopt a colonized perspective that many of us (Black, White, etc.) are not conscious of. Read his book to learn more about the perspective shift that is required to teach students in urban communities and some strategies you can bring back to your classroom.

"Teaching While Black is both a deeply personal narrative of a black woman's real-life experiences and a clarion call for culturally responsive teaching. Lewis fearlessly addresses the reality of toxic school culture head-on and gives readers an inside look at the inert bureaucracy, heavy-handed administrators, and ineffective approach to pedagogy that prevent inner-city kids from learning. At the heart of Lewis's moving narrative is her passion. Each chapter delves deeper into the author's conscious uncoupling from the current trends in public education that diminish proven remedies for academic underachievement, as observed from her own experiences as a teacher of students of color."

"In three separate but allied essays, Theresa Perry, Claude Steele, and Asa Hilliard place students' social identity as African-Americans at the very center of the discussion. They all argue that the unique social and cultural position Black students occupy, in a society which often devalues and stereotypes African American identity, fundamentally shapes students' experience of school and sets up unique obstacles. And they all argue that a proper understanding of the forces at work can lead to practical, powerful methods for promoting high achievement at all levels."
If you haven’t read this classic, grab it now! It is still relevant today given all the recent studies published around teacher perceptions colored by race.

NurtureShock is unique parenting book that really makes you re-evaluate your own practices. The authors also have an entire chapter that discusses race where they share what age children begin to notice racial differences and how parents should talk to their kids about this topic. 
This month, I had fun collecting some books for baby-naming inspiration, which became a hit with you all on Facebook! It's amazing how hungry we are for items that speak to how we identify (Hence, is why My Reflection Matters is here!). Below is a list of the 5 books you see to the right. Just click on a name if you're interested in purchasing.

My Reflection Matters | 

The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild   
Check out these plush Bob Marley and Barack Obama dolls at  The Unemployed Philosophers . My sons love playing with these two fellas! 
Who would think that something as simple as dark-skinned figurines would be such a hit this month? Thanks Bita Morales Davis and Daseta Gray for putting in the request!

Pintoy Wooden Doll Family
These wooden figurines remind me of my family growing up; however, they are quite pricey.  If you work at a pre-school that has an extensive budget and is willing to spend the money on them...hey, why not? Their presence alone will make a powerful statement about what your school values.

Ikea Lillabo Toy Figure
This package of 5 figurines  from IKEA is not only super affordable ($4.99), but lot's of fun! My sons love playing with them because they have interchangeable parts, so you can alter each figurine's look.  By the way, there always seems to be a huge supply of this set (Hmmm..can't possibly be because consumers don't  want brown figurines?!) each time I've seen them at different IKEAs, so don't hesitate to buy a few. They make good gifts!
Apparel & Other Finds
Because of Them We Can
Searching for an empowering backpack for a special kid or yourself (that also has a built-in laptop case)?  Because of Them We Can by Eunique Jones  has this and other hot items I think you and your kids will love!

B.A.M.N. -By Any Means Necessary
B.A.M.N. designs and sells self-empowerment apparel.  I love that they have a kids line!
Personalized Super Hero Party Favor Bags
My sons are BIG on super heroes; however, it drives me crazy that they don’t see themselves in any of their favorite characters. That's why I was so excited to find this gem!

When children are constantly bombarded with images of Whiteness as the norm, they begin to internalize this message and believe it to be true. Keep connected with us to continue to receive the latest updates on products and educational resources that aim to redefine “normal”. 
As requested by one of our followers, Bishop Lopez,
here are two national organizations that provide mentoring for Black boys.
       Boys To Men Mentoring
   100 Black Men
Curricula Materials
Do you have a child or student that learns quickly through song and music? If so, Flocabulary is a fun educational resource I’ve used with kids of all ages.

Kidz Count                                                      Learn more about Kidz Count, an organization that helps youth nationwide develop a solid financial education early so that they are equipped for a lifetime of smart financial decisions. They “promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship through a variety of events and programs.”

The following are 4 amazing tools that help students to explore hidden histories, multiple perspectives around the world, and what it means to be civically engaged in their communities. I found these when searching for "videos that depict a truthful history" as requested by this month's #MRMcontest winner, Sal Ramirez.   Don't be shy! Share your opinion on these and other resources on our facebook page! (Click here to read more about each tool.)
Articles You Luv'd
Check out these popular articles shared on our Facebook page highlighting tips, research, and other information regarding race, culture, and identity.
Who's Talk'n About Race?
NYU Center For Strategic Solutions
NYU Center for Strategic Solutions,  housed out of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, offers support to schools (and non-educational organizations struggling with race related issues) looking to improve outcomes for Black & Brown students by explicitly addressing adult racial biases and how they impact practices. Check out their EveryDayRaceBlog discussing restorative justice , an ancient indigenous practice, as an alternative to “get tough” policies that contribute to the school to prison pipeline. Click here for their brochure and contact information.  
If you have a resource or product you sell or are trying to market that supports the development of healthy racial identities of Black and Brown youth K-12, please email and tell us about it. We’d be happy to test, read, and share your resource if it meets our criteria for meeting the needs of our target audience.  In case you're wondering, MRM does not get paid to advertise any of the resources shared with you.  This is purely lead by MRM's personal research and interests as well as the needs expressed by our followers.