Library kicks off Social Justice Storytime

"There are people of all colors!" Bridgette Thurston says to the kids as story time begins. The first Saturday of each month will feature a different theme related to social justice. This month focused on racial justice. Next month’s focus is gender identity. (Photo by Allie Harris-Beeks)


Children of all sizes and colors were clapping and jumping with excitement as it was time to begin Social Justice story time last week at the Durham County Main Library branch. The theme for the first in a series was racial justice.

During this event, the host read two books related to racial justice and then the more than 20 children in attendance did a coloring activity.

“Chocolate Me” by Taye Diggs, and “Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up” by Andrea Davis Pinkney were this month’s book selections. The social justice theme was centered on the problem of racism and inequality.

“The inspiration for the theme of this story time came from Facebook. I am a part of the Durham Parents for Change group on Facebook and we’re about standing up for racial justice,” said Jessica Hulick, one of the hosts of the story time. “So we posted this event and asked who wanted to help and 14 moms responded saying they wanted to help.”

This was the first story telling event they had, but that is not the last story time. The first Saturday of each month will be designated Social Justice Story Time and held in the main library branch at 300 N. Roxboro St. in the first-floor auditorium from 10 to 11 a.m.

The themes for the story times are: racial justice, religious tolerance, gender identity, immigration rights, ability, inclusion, and family diversity. According to Jessica, the theme for next month will be gender identity. This story time encourages children not to discriminate or judge based on color or gender.

“Embrace the difference and who you are. We want to stop the systematic racism, and it starts with our kids,” explained Bridgette Thurston, one of the hosts and reader for the event.

This was not just a learning experience for kids, but it was also for the parents. “Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about these issues,” Thurston explained. “Ending discrimination starts with informing kids.”

For the coloring activity, kids chose colored paper resembling all types of skin tones and were told to draw themselves. The children chose all types of colors, even if that color didn’t match their own skin tone. This symbolized that color really did not matter to these children; all the colors were considered beautiful to them.

“The intention of the event was good. I’m interested in the idea because this is what my kids are going through now,” said Adrienne Davis, diversity coordinator for Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill in Durham. “I’m also glad to see parents taking the initiative to address this issue and families of color.”

Another parent also mentioned that she was glad people were aware that they need to talk about this topic.

“It was such a great turnout. We’ve also learned from this first event what things we need to improve on for the next story time,” said Hulick.

Information on future story times can be found via