This Milwaukee author ensures kids see 'positive representations of themselves' in books and toys

Kids run to their school.
Kids run to their school. iStock

Deanna Singh wants to get people talking.

Singh is an author, motivational speaker, and business owner from Milwaukee who aims to make learning about race, diversity, and inclusion accessible for everyone. "I really think that it's important that everybody gets an opportunity to see positive representations of themselves," she told CBS 58.

Through her company, Uplifting Impact, Singh and her husband work with companies to start conversations in the workplace about diversity and inclusion. In the summer of 2020, they expanded their focus to offer online sessions with kids about race, after being approached by parents who said they were "experiencing conversations they didn't feel like they were prepared for with their children."

At first, there were a few hundred people signed up, and by the end of the summer, "we talked to 10,000 people," Singh said. Her workshops resonated with the team at American Girl, which attended a session and then asked Singh to write a book for the company. Singh said American Girl told her they wanted to get people talking about "why it's important to have diversity in our literature. It's important to have diversity in our toys."

Singh wrote A Smart Girl's Guide: Race and Inclusion, which discusses racism, anti-racism, and inclusion. "If we're having conversations with our young people at a younger age, then as they grow up these conversations are not so scary," Singh told CBS 58. "They don't seem like something they can't take a part of." Her next book, Actions Speak Louder, is out May 31.

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