Letter: 'Talk to your kids about the George Floyd killing,' writes 10-year-old girl

The Editor:

Dear Parents,

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My name is Penelope Zaitsoff-Choy. I am 10-years-old and going into sixth grade. I am here to talk about racism, more specifically, the killing of George Floyd. I found out about this tragic event from my parents who read about it on CNN. Shortly after I found out about it, I started researching racism on global platforms and found out about how big of an issue it still is today. 

I was angry and devastated when I found out about the killing of George Floyd, but I was also shocked because I had thought that white people had learned from the horrible mistakes we made in the past. Then I realized that lots of kids probably thought that too. It’s not fair that many people, such as black kids, have to live their lives knowing that there are some people out there who will be horribly racist to them just because of the colour of their skin and that many kids live their lives not knowing how big of an issue racism still is today. Another problem about this is that no one can take action and make changes if they don’t know what needs to be changed. 

Who knows what creative ideas kids could come up with if they just knew what needs to be changed? 

The world around us is unfortunately still full of racism. There are large acts of racism such as abuse, discrimination and murder but there are also the smaller acts, acts that sit off to the side of the stage and tend to go unnoticed. These acts are all around us in stores, in art and much more. These acts have been here for so long, we don’t even notice. It’s high time we start noticing.

Here are some prime examples of these acts of racism. When stores sell clothing garments in neutral tones made to match your skin, they only have one ‘skin’ colour. There are lots of famous paintings of women but almost all women in these paintings are white. There are lots of other acts like these, but I am going to leave those for you to find. We need to open our eyes. We need to see in full colour. 

There are lots of ways to help stop racism, starting with simple actions. There are protests you can go to, movements you can join — the Black Lives Matter movement is a great way to get involved. But the best thing we can do is to speak out and use our voices. You don’t have to speak with words. You can make art, write poems, organize events and do all kinds of things to make a difference. Because we all have voices and they are all unique, despite the colour of our skin. Our voices deserve to be heard. 

So parents, I encourage you (if you haven’t already) to talk to your kids about the George Floyd killing and about ways we can help stop racism once and for all. Because the least we can do is to understand about George Floyd and all the other people who have died and been discriminated upon due to racist causes, even if it makes us feel sad. This problem will not be solved overnight, but with knowledge and unity, I believe that together, we can change the world. 

Penelope Zaitsoff-Choy, Coquitlam

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