As a teacher for 30 years, Angie Luper-Inks saw the world in an inclusive way. As a mother, she got a different perspective when she adopted her two children, who are both African American.
“Sometimes the things they would talk about were things as a teacher that I didn’t realize,” she said.
Luper-Inks uses that perspective and the things she learned in her volunteer training to participate in the YWCA Boulder County’s Reading to End Racism Program.
“I go into the classrooms and coordinate with the teacher, bring in story books, and read the stories,” said Luper-Inks. “(We) have discussions around racism and around bullying and around oppression.”
Luper-Inks holds those conversations with more than a dozen elementary and middle school classes a year in Boulder Valley Schools. They even involve role-playing to get kids prepared for what could be uncomfortable situations.
“We’ll do little role playing and actually practice. ‘what do you say?’”
The program’s manager says Angie is a volunteer whose commitment shines thorough.
“Her dedication to the program is really incredible,” said Reading to End Racism Program Manager Elly Johnson. “She’s one of those people who gets really excited about developing a lesson.”
It’s a lesson that students really appreciate.
“It’s very important to understand that other people don’t have what we have and support them,” said Angelina, a 7th grader who took Luper-Inks’ class.
The classes often evolve into open conversations. Luper-Inks hopes that those conversations on race and equality will continue long after she’s left a classroom.
“You don’t always realize you’re going to have an impact,” said Luper-Inks. “But I think (kids) do listen to us… And they want to learn from us.”