As part of the library system’s participation in YWCA’s Stand Against Racism day in April, I was asked to plan an activity. Drop-in stuff seems to work well at my branch, so I wanted to plan a drop-in craft or something that would make a nice display. I found a few sneaker design templates online, enlarged them and printed them off. I left them out for kids to design themselves, using crayons, colored pencils, or markers. It was a huge success! The kids loved designing their own shoes, choosing colors and making patterns. This was even a hit with middle school boys, a tough crowd when it comes to crafts.
I cut out some letters and made a display for everyone to add their shoes to once they were completed. A lot of the kids wanted to take their shoes home, but enough kids left theirs behind (or made two) to fill out the display nicely.
I realize sneakers aren’t really related to racism, or even activism, but I did hand out stickers from the YWCA to any kid who did the craft. The stickers said “racism hurts everyone” which prompted some conversations with kids as to what exactly racism is and how it hurts people. I overheard a group of boys talking about how racist their schools were, and what sort of racist things they’d heard classmates say.