Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” is now being turned into a class curriculum for Black girls, and the mastermind behind it is a former assistant director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Lauren Christine Mims, also a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, was so inspired (like the rest of the world) by Mrs. Obama’s memoir, that she decided to create a curriculum based off the best-selling book.
Mims shared with Black Enterprise, “Reading ‘Becoming’ was like sitting on the couch with your best friend and having one of those soulful conversations about life.”
“Reading about how Michelle Obama felt unchallenged in elementary school, teased for the way she spoke, and noticed a difference in how she was perceived during adolescence was affirming,” Mims went on to explain.
And our children need to be affirmed. On top of utilizing the book, the curriculum will also include films that feature Black girls in leading roles and provide a space for “important conversations, like about what it means to feel like your presence is a threat or that you do not belong.”
Photo: Lauren Christine Mims
“I disrupt the traditional practice of talking about Black girls in pejorative ways and center them and their unique experiences to study how we can support them,” Mims said. “For example, my research highlights what ‘Black Girl Magic’ means to Black girls; the role teachers play in supporting or stopping the success of Black girls; and more about what they are learning and how it makes them feel.”
“We will discuss Maddie Whitsett and McKenzie Nicole Adams; two 9-year-old Black girls who died by suicide after being subjected to bullying,” Mims added. “At the end of the course, students will apply their knowledge to draft new research proposals, policies, and practices.”
Mims has already taken it a step further and came up with how we can support Black girls outside the classroom. As reported by Black Enterprise, we can:
– Create supportive, affirming, and loving environments by listening to their needs and centering their unique experiences of “Becoming;”
– Advocate for, adopt, and enforce school policies and accountability practices that recognize the brilliance of Black girls and ensure they are not being pushed out of school.
– Address the bullying, harassment, and discrimination of Black girls and ensure that all students have access to mental healthcare;
– Care for your own mental health and well-being.
With this class curriculum, Mims is on a mission to ensure that Black girls know they matter – because they do.