Nadine Fonseca is on a mission to build a brighter, kinder, and more inclusive future, one young reader at a time. With the creation of a quarterly print magazine, Mighty Kind, this mom of four aims to use the simple concept of kindness as a gateway to anti-racist and anti-bias learning.
In each delightfully illustrated issue, the magazine whisks readers to a different part of the world, highlighting diverse voices and experiences to help broaden kids’ perspectives. “I hope [Mighty Kind] reaches people who open it to look just for ‘kindness’ and discover a world of opportunity in celebrating differences in a way they may have never thought of before,” Fonseca said.
Below, she shares how Mighty Kind found its start, and how parents of young kids can help to change the world.
Name: Nadine Fonseca
Education: Bachelors in Business & Marketing
Children: Two boys and two girls, ages 5-11
How did the idea of Mighty Kind come about?
I was exposed to a lot of diversity growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also was the daughter of an immigrant and had a front row seat to how assimilation was tied to survival in this country. It was one of those situations where you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but one day, after an out of state move with my husband and family, I was hit like a ton of bricks with the realization that we had not prepared ourselves for living in a much more homogenous area—let alone raising our kids in one.
As a work-from-home mom and homeschooler, I had the privilege to create and curate a curriculum of sorts to replicate as many opportunities to engage with diversity in its many forms, the best I could. While it was no replacement for organic life experiences, I was able to be very intentional about the conversations I had with my children regarding the world around them and the potential role they get to play in it. From there, I wanted to do what I could to bring these resources to others who may be in a similar situation wanting to prioritize anti-bias learning, but perhaps didn’t have the privilege I was afforded to get things started for my own family.
While it was no replacement for organic life experiences, I was able to be very intentional about the conversations I had with my children regarding the world around them and the potential role they get to play in it.
How were you able to bring the idea of the magazine to fruition? What steps did you take?
My first call was to an old friend of mine, Rachel Speirs, who I tossed the idea out to… I had already been percolating on the idea of a recurring release format simply because it modeled the hope that these would be ongoing conversations in homes and classrooms.
Having never been in publishing, I had a lot to learn from Rachel, who immediately was on-board as our Editor-in-Chief on that first call. I had started and run businesses before, so I blocked out the angst around what I didn’t know and just engrossed myself with the challenge of getting this mission as far as I possibly could with the knowledge I did have and what I could learn along the way. Thankfully, I have an incredible volunteer staff of moms who all bring really amazing expertise to the table and have collectively carried us further than I could have first envisioned.
What role did your children have in the creation of the magazine?
They were the kick in the pants! I owed them more than I felt that I could give them and that was motivating for me to do better, even if that meant creating something that had never previously existed. They have been helpers, cheerleaders, human alarm clocks to take breaks, and everything in between during this journey. I’m glad they get to grow up in a world where there is more focus on anti-bias and anti-racist learning and listening than ever before.
Who do you hope the magazine reaches?
I hope it reaches everyone, of course! But specifically, I hope it reaches people who open it to look just for “kindness” and discover a world of opportunity in celebrating differences in a way they may have never thought of before… For those people, who may be peeking at anti-bias and anti-racist resources for their kids through their fingers, I hope we connect with them in a way that opens their hearts and eases their minds just a little more so they feel welcome joining us from wherever they are in their journey of learning or potentially unlearning.
I hope we connect with [parents] in a way that opens their hearts and eases their minds just a little more so they feel welcome joining us from wherever they are in their journey of learning or potentially unlearning.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wish I knew! Every day is different. I do hope that changes soon with my children going to school in person this year, but we launched our business right before the pandemic, so it’s been a while since we’ve had any semblance of a “normal” schedule. Some days I’m up by 4 a.m. and other days I’m up until 4.
There are ebbs and flows, but as an entrepreneur, you wear a lot of hats. I’ve been better lately about setting boundaries and limits for myself, mostly because my team is amazing and reminds me to! My days are juggling act of admin tasks, customer service communication, meeting with different leaders of my team regarding their departments, cultivating new relationships with like-minded brands, seeking BIPOC and LGBTQ+ talent from around the world for our next publication release, meeting with one of my many incredible mentors, and snacks… feeding my kids LOTS of snacks.
I’d love to talk to you about raising anti-racist kids. Do you have any tips/advice to share with parents of young children?
What always comes to mind first is that parents and caregivers need to be doing the work themselves. Find the nooks and crannies of your day to listen to a podcast, watch a TedTalk on YouTube, read a book—even diversify your Instagram feed to start getting in the habit of being more mindful about how you think and why you think a certain way. Get more voices at your table.
Next recommendation, don’t wait to be perfect to engage your kids on this learning adventure! Let them be your partner! Both the beauty and the challenge of working intentionally toward “becoming anti-bias” is that there is no finish line. You can’t check it off your list, sorry!
Both the beauty and the challenge of working intentionally toward ‘becoming anti-bias’ is that there is no finish line. You can’t check it off your list, sorry!
Everyone is going to be on their own journey at their own pace and all we can do is keep pushing ourselves forward and adding ourselves to a collective community that welcomes others with support along the way. Don’t feel like you have to be so many strides ahead of your child to be “qualified” to engage in this work together.
Our collective focus seems to be on anti-racism, what is anti-bias and why should parents put their focus there as well?
Anti-racism is a vital focus. Anti-bias broadens that conversation and awareness beyond race to include other harmful biases such as sexism, ableism, homophobia, and so on. We live in a world where no person is made up of a single identifier. When we focus on bias across the spectrum, we can better recognize the nuances of harm or oppression as they really exist in the world—at the intersections of many identifiers.
I am Latina, yes. I am also a cisgender bisexual woman in a heterosexual marriage, a mother, the daughter of an immigrant, and so on and so forth… When we can see diversity in its many forms with an empathetic lens, we have the opportunity to bring humanity back into the conversation and have a chance at being true allies.
Aside from reading Mighty Kind, what resources do you recommend for parents of young kids?
There are so many amazing kids lit options that tell stories from diverse perspectives, seek them out! There are also some great educators like Liz Kleinrock, Brittany Hawthorn, Blair Imani, and more, but your community is going to be your greatest resource.
Try a new restaurant with cuisine from another culture, visit a religious service different from your own, find a cultural festival or celebration, seek out your nearest drag queen story time, cheer on the athletes or volunteer at a local special olympics event or at an adaptive sports tournament—and then find a way to give back to that community. Connect with people in your community and then be ready to listen.