Our response to Black Lives Matter
People have been asking us what we think about the current discussions around race inequity and we’ve taken our time to say anything.
Initially, we thought that we didn’t want to get involved in politics, but we’ve realised this is beyond politics. We’ve been talking to friends in the US about this, and there are lives at stake. We are starting to understand that it really matters to people that we are clear about where we stand on this.
In order to make Cosmic Kids work well, we usually just ask ourselves universal questions, trying to imagine what will help EVERY child. What will be interesting or fun for every child? What are the needs and feelings that all children have? This is OK up to a point. It means we can meet kids where they are and find things that make sense to them. This means we can help them become more mindful and resilient kids – and have fun doing yoga. This will help them grow into happy adults. All good.
Until recently, I was thinking that this is our work – ‘if we get this right, it doesn’t matter what colour you are, it will help.’ We were also thinking, ‘we make so much of our work available on YouTube so any family or classroom with an internet connection can do kids yoga and mindfulness and get the benefits of doing that. This goes across race boundaries.’
That’s enough right? Keeping it universal? Making it freely available? I’m not sure now to be honest.
There is an inequity in western society – a race deficit essentially. If you’re born Black, you are less likely to get a good education, to be healthy, find work and fundamentally be able to stay safe. This isn’t the case for everyone, but there are huge parts of the US population in particular who suffer like this. It’s been going on too long.
Of course, we want to be as helpful as we can to all kids and there are poor white people too in the West, but there is something particular about the racial aspect of this. Perhaps this comes from our shared history and in particular the history of slavery. It’s almost certainly partly due to the fact that people judge people on how they look, and fear people who are different to them. Over the years, in combination with the fact that white people have essentially built the structures and institutions in the west, this inequity has become worse and worse. Now with the political situation creating more antagonism and division, and the police brutality we’ve seen, things have reached a point. It has to stop. There are forces within forces here creating a situation where people are disadvantaged in a devastating way simply due to the colour of skin they were born with.
So we want to make a couple of affirmations. Things we will convert into action, which are shown in the graphics and we will reiterate here.
1. We want Cosmic Kids to help create a world as safe and loving as it can be for Black kids. Yes, we want to do this for all kids, but we especially want to do this for Black kids. We want them to succeed and feel love and support from the rest of society. So we plan to make a yoga adventure about colour specifically, which everyone can see. We’re not pretending it’s a huge thing, but it’s a start, and it will get us really thinking about what we can do.
2. We want Cosmic Kids to reach poorer Black kids. This might be by visiting schools when we’re allowed to do that again. It might be by offering free content to selected school districts in the US. We’re not sure how we do it yet, but we know we need to work harder to find the kids in those situations and help them discover the yoga and mindfulness we offer.
If you can help us in any way on any of this, please leave a comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, something immediately useful. We made a playlist (woohoo – I know). It is full of videos we have already made which celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. Available now on the App and on YouTube.
I should say, we are still thoughtful about kids of all races and aware there are other problems and inequities in the world, but we believe this is a special problem which requires special measures.
Jaime and Martin