PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Kevin and David Patterson adopted two daughters seven years ago. The Phoenix dads are white.

"Probably our biggest learning curve as parents hasn't been raising girls," said Kevin. "It's been helping them understand and appreciate who they are and where they come from and their culture and honor that."

The dads called on black parents they knew for advice on how to talk to their girls about racism and what's happening in our country.

"To be honest, we waited to talk to them about it," said David. "We shielded them. We didn't put the TV on. We didn't share the magnitude about what was happening until a couple of days ago when it was becoming overwhelming for all of us."

Finally, the dads had that tough conversation.

"We found it really important to talk honestly with them and share with them what's going on in our community and around the world," said Kevin. "It did bring up some really tough feelings to talk through."

The dads asked friends to send videos to the kids that would help them understand what it's like to be a black woman. Within an hour, they had 40 videos.

"Reminding them of their beauty, their intelligence, their value which is so important," said Kevin.

Tuesday, 10-year-old Cayla shared what's going through her mind as a young black girl.

"She said, 'I've just been sad since I woke up this morning,'" said Kevin. "'I asked her what's making you sad?' She said, "I'm sad because of the way that I look, and I'm sad it's not understood, and I'm sad it's not appreciated.'"

"My emotions were sad, mad, and confused," said Cayla.

"She said, 'I feel like I'm bad. I feel like I'm part of a group that's bad, and she said I don't want to feel bad.'"

As white parents, the dads say all they could do was listen.

"At ten, she hasn't had any chance to do bad in the world yet, and so I had to remind her, 'Honey, you're not bad. You're beautifully and uniquely you,'" said Kevin.

13-year-old Cayden fought tears when asked what it was like seeing her little sister's pain.

"It's not fair that kids like her have to know and go through what's happening today," said Cayden. "I don't want to see anyone younger than me go through this."

Kevin and David say they hope all parents can talk to their kids about race, no matter how tough it is.

"We have to talk to our kids about creating fairness and being accepting and open and also speaking up," said Kevin.

Cayla said she wishes people would ask her how they can help.

"You can help by doing nice deeds and picking up trash and helping other people," said Cayla. "Just be kind, really, really kind...just stay strong and hope, and it will take a little while, so just keep hoping and praying it will change."

"Staying strong is really needed and to just be careful and think about what you're doing before you actually do it," said Cayden.

 

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