Mom creates alphabet poster to help parents, teachers talk to kids about racism

By NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A mother has designed a poster in hopes that it will help parents and teachers educate their children about racism.

Taimani Reed of Portland, Oregon, is a photographer, brand designer and illustrator. In June, the mom of two launched her project “A is for Ally,” a collection of art which focuses on the ABCs of acceptance and words associated with oppression.

“I just couldn’t figure out how to talk to my kids,” Reed told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “I was watching George Floyd yelling for his mama and my own kid was like, ‘Mama, what’s wrong?’ That was such an emotional moment. I didn’t want to tell him, ‘The world is horrible,’ but I also didn’t want him to grow up not knowing.”

Through her company, Emerald Creative, Reed offers alphabet posters and tote bags.

Her best-seller is the “A is for Ally” poster, which attributes each letter of the alphabet to words like ally, Black, colonization, diversity, equality, fragility, gentrification and more. She decided on an ABC model since her 3-year-old and 1-year-old had been practicing their letters.

“I wanted to create something soft enough to talk about scary subjects,” Reed said.

The artistic mom developed her concept by asking Portland-area teachers, principals and BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) families what words they felt were important to include on the poster.

“And specifically white women and mothers [asking], ‘How are you teaching your kids and what tools do you need to teach diversity and anti-racism?"” she added.

Reed said her poster gained popularity after she shared the image with local Facebook groups. She first released it for the home and then teachers reached out asking her to market some for classrooms.

Parents can buy the poster on Reed’s website for $30.

Businesses sponsoring Reed have made it possible for her to get her “A is for Ally” poster into local classrooms.

Reed is also collaborating with Lillian Green, a former teacher and founder of “Operation Back to School.” Green started the organization in honor of her sister, Kim Green Ellsworth, who was also a teacher.

The program donates backpacks and school supplies to students in need. Green will include “A is for Ally” posters in 447 backpacks that will go to preschoolers, and 200 more are headed to three local schools, foster care programs and daycare centers.

“I kind of [have], for a really long time, been in the shadows as far as advocating for Black people because of my privilege in who I’m married to,” Reed said, explaining that she’s married to a white man.

“I am a Black woman and a lot of people don’t see me that way because I am mixed,” she added. “I feel this movement meets everybody’s voice. ‘A is for Ally’ gave me and other people an opportunity to speak to their children at home and in their schools in areas where other types of protests, and language, might not be able to get into, in the same manner.”

Reed said she’s raised over $3,000 to get “A is for Ally” posters to students in classrooms.

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