Michelle Ami Reyes noticed there are a lot of different perspectives when it comes to conversations about racism.
“From people wanting to just move past it, to perhaps replacing one group in power with another, which is just as limiting, to deconstruction, to canceling each other, to just engaging each other through guilt-based mechanisms,” Reyes said.
As a mother of two young children who are part of a multi-cultural family, Reyes wanted to provide an alternative path “of healing and hope when it comes to the conversation on race.”
“So that my children can call out the evil and brokenness in the world, while also modeling to people another way forward, you know, forward together with humility and love and kindness, the way that Jesus calls us to. To build the beloved community, in the words of Dr. King, where all people may flourish,” Reyes said.
Reyes helps lead Hope Community Church in East Austin and is vice president of the Asian American Christian Collaborative. She co-authored the book “The Race-Wise Family” with Helen Lee.
“What we’re encouraging is to move your children from awareness to activism to advocacy. And all of this is rooted in a desire to love God more and to love our neighbors better,” Reyes said.
To do that, Reyes says, she and Lee included family activities in every chapter to engage parents and kids.
“But in terms of step one: awareness, asking our young children, ‘Do you know what’s happening in the world right now? Have you heard about these riots or these protests or this police shooting?’ And just having conversations to elevate their understanding of what’s happening in the world,” Reyes said.
She says what she’s done in her own home first in response to horrific examples of racism, such as the shooting in Buffalo, is to make space to let her children grieve.
“I think that should be the posture of our heart, particularly when it’s happening to a community that’s outside of our own ethnic background is how do we just lament and tell our children, ‘Hey, this is something that we need to be grieved for because it grieves the very heart of God when anybody loses their life, particularly in this way,’” Reyes said.