Today we’d like to introduce you to Kami Anderson.
Kami, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The Spanish language has been a part of my life at least since the age of three. Yes, a little Black girl with no Latinx heritage! When my mom went back to school after having me, se had to fulfill her foreign language requirement. She would come home and teach me little things: numbers, colors, how to say my name, etc. When I got to school, Spanish was the language I chose to study.
While majoring in Spanish in college, I made the decision that if I had children, they would be bilingual. But it would be years before that even came to fruition. I worked for a short time after getting my BA in Spanish from Spelman College, then went to pursue my Masters in International Communication and Cultural Anthropology from American University. Every job after I graduated college needed my foreign language skills. Every. One. I’ve worked for hotel companies in Cancun, relief and development agencies and even taught Spanish for about three years before pursuing my Ph.D. from Howard University.
It was while teaching that I became more interested in the power language has in the Black community and how it seemed like a missed opportunity that the educational system didn’t see Black children as highly capable in the foreign language classroom.
Once I had my own children, I started to see it even more clearly. I began speaking Spanish to my own children from day one. They can speak, read and write in the language. My oldest son is the one who prompted the start of Bilingual Brown Babies. He told me he no longer wanted to speak Spanish because “none of his friends did.” My response was to build him a tribe. I needed him to see other Black families who chose to use Spanish like we do. In doing so, I have launched a movement that is far bigger than the tribe I wanted for my children. The power we have as Black people with language is so much bigger than just “being bilingual.” There’s empowerment in the languages we speak, there’s an agency.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No business is smooth sailing especially when you are starting from nothing more than an idea and not much direction like I was. Fortunately, I have been blessed along the way to have people that have come into my life to get me “right.” I was blessed with free business coaching for 6 months and in that time, my coach and I pushed hard from an idea to reality. Initially, I thought I was just going to do something with bilingual books. It took a lot of literal tears to see my own power in language so that I am now a language coach, guiding families through to bilingualism.
My biggest struggle would have to be myself, if I’m honest. I was too nervous to put my face out there, scared about what people would think and it caused me to play small in my business at first. If I hadn’t had someone else working me through that, I cannot imagine I’d be where I am right now.
Bilingual Brown Babies – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Bilingual Brown Babies is a language lifestyle program for Black families. I show Black families how to transition to and become bilingual in English and Spanish through customized coaching, group coaching, and a homeschool curriculum. What I am most proud of is actually what sets me apart. There are so many language programs out there, but Bilingual Brown Babies focuses on the Black family addressing the needs and desires WE have with language. I have seen the value of retaining language with children when the adults they love around them are using it. I focus on teaching the parents how to be a strong language support and influence for their kids at home. I help my parents keep the “black mama” in their Spanish learning. I encourage my parents to find their “language swag” so they can speak Spanish and not have it feel like an out of body experience.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Outside of my family success stories, launching my homeschool curriculum has been the proudest so far. I was trying to find a way to keep Black History in language and had been doing annual videos on social media linking Blacks in history to language during the months of February and March and I wanted to do something more. After talking with my families and many of my friends, I realized there were so many similarities and connections to draw from Afro-Latino history and culture that as a community we just don’t know about, that I had to put all of this together.
- Book on Amazon $20: Raising Bilingual Brown Babies: Everyday strategies to become a successful bilingual family
- Group Membership Program $47 each month
- Customized Family Language coaching starts at $297 each month
- Homeschool Curriculum $250
- Website: www.bilingualbrownbabies.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bilingualbrownbabies
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bilingualbrownbabies/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bilingualitos