A More Perfect Union
Be Strong Families has always worked to strengthen families from the inside out, but we also know there is more to parenting than what you can control inside your family.
In 2016, after national attention was brought to the staggering number of young African American people across the country dying unjustly at the hands of police officers, we felt called to respond because of what we saw on the news and what many of our staff were feeling and experiencing everyday as parents of African American children and young adults. As we thought about how to act, we realized that what we do best—develop transformative conversations—could allow people to experience the emotional safety needed to share their feelings, gain support from each other, and brainstorm strategies and solutions to keep their families safe. At the same time, we saw how intolerance and hate for people and ideologies that represented "different" or "other" spread both across the nation, and even within families, and we broadened our sense of the kinds of conversations that were needed.
After beginning the work, we realized our own limitations and the hard work we all have to do in order to genuinely embrace a mindset of cultural humility for diversity and inclusion. When we have space to connect, we develop compassion for and understanding of other peoples’ realities, disrupt stereotypes, and create stronger ties to each other. Since then, we have been working to define and refine what we now call A More Perfect Union, a multi-faceted approach to honoring the broader context for parenting in a complicated and often unjust world.
What are the objectives of A More Perfect Union?
Create a sense of community.
Promote understanding of different perspectives.
Recognize that we don’t have control over the circumstances our children will face.
Which allows us to…
Embrace love & compassion across differences.
Transform our attitudes and beliefs by learning from other’s perspectives and experiences.
Deepen our understanding of the social and political contexts, situations, and events that are present in our family’s lives and the lives of others.
Embody a safe space for participants to share their truth, values and lived experiences.
Foster relationship building.
Move towards a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.
With these objectives in mind, Be Strong Families has developed three components to our A More Perfect Union initiative.
A More Perfect Union Parent Cafés
With cards and questions that can be used in any Parent Café setting, A More Perfect Union conversations occur at the nexus of social justice and parenting, allowing parents to explore the broader context for parenting in a complicated and often unjust world. Organized around the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors, the questions mobilize shared civic values of freedom, prosperity, safety, justice, and healing to assist parents in talking to their children about difficult issues and brainstorming how to keep their families safe. Specific issues addressed include mass incarceration, gun violence, policing and police brutality, bullying, immigration, queer and trans issues, religious discrimination such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, housing rights, gender equality and feminism, racism and racial justice, and disability.
A More PERFECT UNION ART+Activism Events
Art in all forms can be a powerful tool for self-expression, community-building, and social change. A More Perfect Union Art+Activism events build on the foundation of A More Perfect Union Parent Cafés and weave in art to emphasize an overarching message of justice, love, and compassion across differences and bring reflection and catharsis to what may be heavy conversations. Growing out of Be Strong Families’ celebration of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's “A National Day of Racial Healing,” Art+Activism events can be adapted for any audience.
Coming Soon: Social Media CAMPAIGN
A More Perfect Union Cafés and Art+Activism Events are places to create positive energy for social justice, and the #AMPlify campaign is one way to spread it. The goal of the campaign is to build on the self-reflection and relationship-building, and raise awareness of how we’re working together to transform attitudes and beliefs. Join us and share what you are doing to #AMPPEACe, #AMPJustice, or #AMP whatever matters to you!