Today we’d like to introduce you to Niki Brooks.
Niki, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I became pregnant with our first child, my husband asked me a question I will never forget. He said, “When you are filling out those forms that ask the race of the baby, what one will you choose?”
I said, “White, of course.” Even though I didn’t know much about race at the time, I knew I never wanted my child to be considered anything except white, and have to go through all the things that come along with that.
“Wrong answer,” he said.
See, (and it took me a while to really understand this) the question was really not what I would choose, it was what society is going to choose. That answer would be black. Not white, because that is what the child identifies with. Not white, because their dad is biracial and their mom is white, so percentage-wise they are more white than anything else. Not biracial, because they have a black dad and white mom.
No, dear, the answer is black.
As racist comments towards my children started coming as soon as I became pregnant, I began a self-initiated crash course. I needed to know how I was going to teach a child things that I was never taught, and was still learning myself. I spent the first years of my children’s life reading and listening.
When my oldest was six, I started Raising A Legacy after people started asking me advice on ways to teach and homeschool their children. RAL combines my love for education with my love for teaching inclusivity. I believe that by teaching young children about cultures and traditions they normally wouldn’t learn about you are setting the groundwork for a life-long discussion of harder to discuss topics such as racism and white privilege.
Having an inclusive mindset is a life long journey and not a destination. I am still learning every day. My goal is for everyone to learn, grow, and empower together.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think the biggest obstacle for me is finding work/life balance. I have four young children that I homeschool, so that keeps me busy throughout the day. I am always searching for ways to run my life and business more efficiently, and to find the balance in it all. Raising A Legacy could grow very rapidly if I dedicated full time to it, but that is not where I am at in my life. It is something that I am happy with, and struggle with at the same time.
Please tell us about Raising A Legacy.
Raising A Legacy’s mission is to change the world with education and create a society built on inclusivity. We design holiday-themed educational craft and activity boxes for children. The goal is to have a box for every holiday and every way that it is celebrated. For example, Christmas can be celebrated culturally with Santa Claus and reindeer, or religiously with the birth of Jesus.
We have a box available for each of these, as well as a mix of both. We do this so children that don’t celebrate mainstream holidays can have something personalized for them, and others can learn about holidays and traditions they normally wouldn’t learn about. I believe that by teaching young children about other cultures, we can start life-long conversations about more difficult topics such as racism, and create empathy which leads to action.
Also, I have just started a line of History and Culture boxes. These are based on themes like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Native American Heritage Month, etc. With these, I hope to amplify and empower oppressed voices. That is why I am partnering with people from these communities to make sure the information shared is accurate and appropriate.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t really believe in luck. I believe that if you prepare yourself well when opportunities come, you will be able to take advantage of them.
- Website: www.raisingalegacy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/raisingalegacy
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/raisingalegacy