Mamie's Powerful Ripple for Justice

Emmett’s mother wanted the hateful torture and murder of her son, and the miscarriage of justice that let his murderers go free, to fuel a wave of change. She fought to bring change so that such an atrocity would not happen again. The actions of one woman made Ripples for Justice wherever she went. Those ripples turned into a wave of change still rolling through our society today.

Today, the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley relies on you. Join Mamie Till-Mobley’s powerful Ripple for Justice by standing up for racial justice in your community. It's going to take all of us, working together, to make a change.

Be a Changemaker!

There are many ways to stand up for racial justice. Use this resource to help you, your family, and friends generate ideas and put them into action!

Share the Truth

Use words, art, music, and dance to share the truth about injustice

Listen

  • Hear about how a lack of access to resources can lead to failure to thrive in other areas of life:
  • Be an ally to LGBTQ+, BIPOC, immigrant, neurodivergent, and disabled communities and advocate for the rights of others
  • Work to dispel your own biases against those who are different from you.
  • Read together:
    • My People by Langston Hughes. Charles R. Smith Jr. photographically illustrates the classic 33-word poem by Langston Hughes. Written to celebrate Hughes’s own community in the late 1920s, when Black people were not acknowledged equitably in society.
    • Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano PhD, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard. As the fight for civil rights continues, current events include moments of injustice and racism in our society. This book serves as a tool and a guide for adults in having honest, respectful conversations that address kids' difficult questions.

Learn

  • Take your family to a cultural fair to learn about families that might have different traditions or customs.
  • Research these topics by using quality websites and resources that are unbiased and factual.
    • Medical treatment based on race (e.g., higher death rate among Black mothers than White after birth).
    • Policies that have contributed to disenfranchisement (e.g., including rights to vote, racist zoning/housing laws, etc.).
  • Make education more accessible:
    • Collect and donate extra school supplies.
    • Volunteer as a tutor.
    • Raise funds for the building of schools in impoverished areas.
    • Educate others on the importance of education.
  • Read together:
    • Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids. Forward by Mary Robinson. Poetry by ePALS Global Learning Community. Photographs and poetry by young people accompany the Universal Declaration of Rights adopted by the United Nations.
    • Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham. By and for White people, this book reminds us that children can understand and challenge white supremacy too.
    • Emmett Till: Sometimes Good Can Come Out of a Bad Situation by Katina Rankin. As Tonya tells the story of Emmett Till to her children, a new generation learns about the racist murder that empowered the Civil Rights Movement.

Raise Your Voice

Bring visibility to the problems of racial justice

Rise Up

  • Raise money to support initiatives that are important to you and your family.
  • Vote when you are old enough and research important issues on the ballot.
  • Advocate as an ally for the rights of others (including the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, immigrant, neurodivergent, and disabled communities).
  • Read together:
    • Rise Up and Write It by Nandini Ahuja. Young Farah leads her community through the steps to help make her neighborhood turn an empty lot into a greener, healthier, happier place.
    • Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen. Simple text and illustrations clearly explain and educate the reader about the purpose, use, and history of peaceful protest marches.

Speak Out

  • Raise awareness about types of racial, religious, or cultural injustices, including:
    • Discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin,
    • Believing stereotypes about different religions,
    • Appropriating another culture or viewing it ethnocentrically.
  • Make a sign and attend a rally to support racial equity.
  • Register to vote and encourage others to do the same.
  • Speak to your friends and family to raise awareness about racial justice.
  • Contact elected officials—find your U.S. House representative.
  • Read together:
    • WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne. Three young poets share readable, relatable words of challenge, instruction, and empathy, inviting today's youth to open their hearts, minds, and notebooks to pen and voice powerful words of their own.
    • Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai tells her story of turning a dream into reality in her fight for girls' rights to education.

Provide Support

Help others stand up for racial justice

Help Your Community

  • Support minority-owned businesses—here are seven ways you can help.
  • Teach others about the importance of voting and how to do the following:
    • Register to vote.
    • Use absentee ballots.
    • Find a polling station.
    • Be an informed voter by staying up-to-date on debates and candidates’ statements.
  • Read together:
    • Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi. A colorfully illustrated and lyrical text teaches nine steps toward creating a world without racism.
    • The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson. On a rainy day, Grandmother urges her two young grandchildren to "use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours," and opens the window to the world of imagination where they soon learn to rise above their circumstances.

Stand Together

  • Read together:
    • I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word.
    • Dear Malala, We Stand with You by Rosemary McCarney. In this letter to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, girls around the world express support for Malala’s activism on education.

Respect Others

  • Work to dispel your own biases against people who are different from you.
  • Read together:
    • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman. Discover a school where all young children have a place and are loved and appreciated.
    • Most People by Michael Leannah. To today's children, who often face news of danger and tragedy in our communities and world, this delightful book is a refreshing reminder that most people are loving and kind.
    • One by Kathryn Otoshi. Join Blue and his colorful friends as they learn by Number 1 to take a stand and be counted.

Change the System

Change unjust rules or policies at school or in your community

Advocate for Justice

  • Write a letter to a policy maker about an issue that you care about, explaining why it is important to you and what you think should be done about it.
    • Policy makers that your child could write to include school principals, school board members, city council members, the mayor, and state and federal legislators. Writing to these policy makers provides an opportunity to discuss the roles of various community members and how citizens can take an active role in government. It’s also a great way to help your child develop their writing skills!
  • Advocate for law reform American Civil Liberties Union: Criminal Law Reform Project.
  • Talk to your school or employer’s administration about equity-driven internal changes.
  • Work with classmates, teachers, and parents to attend rallies that align with an important cause.
  • When you are old enough, vote for representation and causes that are important to you.
  • Read together
    • Oh, the Things We’re For! by Innosanto Nagara. Poetically written and beautifully illustrated, Oh, the Things We’re For! is a guide for today's kids who must actively face the challenges they are inheriting, from climate change to police violence and healthcare.
    • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara. An ABC board book for families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and all things that activists work for.

Have Courage

  • Accept that fear is a natural part of being a person—it’s how we choose to respond to fear that makes all the difference.
  • Find role models that inspire you when times are tough.
  • Be a role model to others.
  • Celebrate leaders who served as role models for you.
  • Read together:
    • We Are the Change; Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders. This unique and powerful collection highlights not only the words of great leaders, but the words of the thoughtful artists who illustrate them.
    • Because of You, John Lewis: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Andrea Davin Pinkney. In rich, poetic language, Pinkney weaves the inspiring true story of a boy with a dream, together with the story of a real-life hero who, himself, had a life-altering friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Persevere

  • Take breaks, allowing time for self-care so that you can continue to advocate for positive change.
  • Keep working for change, no matter how long it takes. In the words of Emmett Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker, “The wheels of justice grind, but they grind slow.”
  • Read together:
    • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander. A stunning visual and inspirational poetic tribute to Black Americans who have persevered with grit, passion, strength, and courage.
    • Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman. Poignant and powerful illustrations help to tell the story of the poem by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman.

Share Your Vision

Work with others to create a community that is just for all

Lead with Kindness

  • Find daily opportunities to be kind.
  • Celebrate small victories and accomplishments.
  • Consider the people around you and what kindness and respect look like for them.
  • Read together:
    • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. A fence separates the Black side from the White side of town. Two young girls acknowledge that their mamas say they shouldn't go on the other side, "But she never said nothing about sitting on it."
    • Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by her own lost opportunity for friendship.

Have Empathy

  • Look at an experience through the perspective of someone different from you.
  • Look for opportunities to eliminate barriers that can marginalize people from full access to public life<./li>
  • Read together:
    • I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli. In the context of the South African concept of Ubuntu, meaning "I am, because you are," this cheerful and colorful celebration of friendship and kindness shows children that we all are one.
    • I Am Enough by Grace Byers. In simple, yet powerful poetic verse, this colorfully illustrated text reminds each one of us that we are just what we were meant to be, and that is enough.