The Cradle in Evanston will host Representation Matters: Affirming Girls of Color

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) — Children face so many things just in the process of growing up. And when it comes to girls, there’s usually the issue of embracing their looks.

They compare themselves to others, including, of course, images in the media and social networks.

For girls of color, they may not always see themselves represented, celebrated, and affirmed.

The effect on their self-esteem can have a lasting impact.

WATCH: Our Chicago: Affirming Girls of Color Part 1

On Thursday, the Cradle, an Evanston child welfare agency that has provided adoption services for nearly 100 years in the Chicago area, is hosting a conversation about this issue. It’s called “Representation Matters: Affirming Girls of Color.”

Kikanza Harris, head of the Our Children educational program at Cradle, explained how they came to facilitate these kinds of conversations.

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“Several years ago we started getting calls from our parents around the time Trayvon Martin was killed. Around the time Tamir Rice was killed we started getting calls from our parents, especially of our transracial families who embraced the question ‘how do we talk to our kids about what’s going on?’ They were beginning to recognize that there was a different set of rules when it came to black kids outside of their homes. And how do we start having these important conversations?” said Harris. “I think we can be very intentional about having these conversations with our children, the young women in your life. Be intentional, have this open and honest dialogue about race like we do with our conversations about our children.”

WATCH: Our Chicago: Affirming Girls of Color Part 2

Ivey Smith is a panelist and owner of My Skin Is In. She said she founded the company for “every shy, shy emerging woman who is trying to learn to embrace her beauty and gain confidence.”

“Although I was different, my difference was actually what made me even more beautiful and allowed me to connect with other people,” Smith said. “And what happened when I started growing up, I realized after talking to friends that they had the same issues. And so the reality is I started having conversations, and we all had a certain need to grow up and learn to love ourselves.”

For more information on the next webinar, visit

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