One of the finalists for Time magazine’s “Kid of the Year” is from Loudoun County, Virginia, and she’s teaching us all a lesson on racial inequity — using a box of crayons.
Bellen Woodard, 10, told CBS This Morning that the wheels started spinning for her initiative, “More than Peach,” when she was coloring one day in school.
“My friends would ask for the ‘skin color crayon,’ talking about the peach crayon,” Woodard said. She said she knew what they were talking about, but as she thought about it, she said she felt left out.
“I wasn’t mad. I was kind of confused, and felt kind of dis-included, ’cause I knew that I was different from everyone else,” she said.
Woodard, who is African American, used the experience to created her own nonprofit, and a line of crayons in tones that reflect the wide spectrum of skin colors in the world. She started by using her own money, and gives the crayons away for free to schools.
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A news release from Time magazine on Woodard’s achievements noted that more than $40,000 worth of her multicultural crayons and markers have been donated. Her crayons are named for things found in nature — there’s “Sahara” and “Reef,” “Koko” and “Serengeti” — but each is also clearly labeled “skin color.”
Woodard said, “The peach crayon is a skin color … but is it the only one? No, it isn’t. My different shades of peaches and browns can hopefully match everyone, including me and my friends and my classmates. Just everyone.”
A packet of Woodard’s crayons has also been added to the permanent collection at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
Time’s pick for Kid of the Year is 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao, of Lone Tree, Colorado, who was recognized for her efforts to use science to tackle everything from contaminated drinking water to cyberbullying.