Representation Is Not Enough
February marked the launch of The Hummingbird Humanity Foundation. We are excited to expand our work to provide educational materials, resources and books to children and caregivers creating more human centered cultures; at home, in schools, and at work.
The work of the Foundation will focus on representation across a multitude of lived experiences and will engage authors and illustrators that identify as members of marginalized communities. We also recognize that what is learned at home and in school enters our workplaces – which is a driving force behind our work.
That said, we also know that representation is not enough. Providing mirrors that celebrate stories where every child has the opportunity to see themselves represented in meaningful ways is important, and so are windows that also give children the opportunity to explore and learn about lived experiences that differ from their own.
I know firsthand how important it is to see yourself and your lived experience represented often and accurately. Growing up as a bi-racial child in the 80s and 90s, my family did their best to find books, shows, and dolls that represented our family, but resources were definitely limited.
I remember having to make the choice between the Asian baby doll that looked like Mom or the Black baby doll that looked like Dad. With neither doll looking like me, I usually picked the Hispanic or Latina doll that looked like me visually but did not quite fit culturally.
That experience summed up a lot of my childhood- not quite Asian, not quite Black, somewhere in the middle trying to find myself in the books and TV shows I consumed. Flash forward to 2023 and I am a mother of three multiracial children.
I feel grateful for how far things have come. My kids now see families that look like us represented in many of their books and shows and the same American Girl dolls I coveted as a child now come totally customizable to represent a wide variety of skin tones and hair textures.
I am excited that the Hummingbird Humanity Foundation is entering into this space, focusing on representation across a multitude of lived experiences and investing in authors and illustrators that identify as members of marginalized communities.
You can see from our new logo that this concept of “Mirrors and Windows” is a driving theme behind the work that we are doing with the Foundation. Our vision is to create a two-way dialogue about representation and nurture the next generation of conscious leaders.
For every book we publish we will be providing two resource guides: one for families who are represented to celebrate their stories, build pride and connection; and a second for families from different backgrounds to learn about new cultures and lived experiences and expand their cultural fluency.
It is an opportunity to shift the conversation a bit, giving everyone the opportunity and tools to engage with the stories and their children in impactful ways. I hope that this work is as exciting to you as it is to me.
I am looking forward to sharing the work of the Foundation with all of our friends at Hummingbird Humanity and am excited to provide both mirrors and windows for Dash, Mia, and Isla!
Chief Consulting Officer
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Andrea Forsht is joining Hummingbird Humanity with over 15 years of experience building and scaling social impact and employee experience programs for a variety of organizations and industries. She has built a reputation for forging strong relationships between people and groups and showing them how to relate to and rely on each other for better outcomes.
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