How a Box of Crayons Helped to Win The Racism Battle

Dr. Gail and her box of Crayons

Former law enforcement officer used her crayons to teach her classmate a lesson in color

Dr. Gail shared a powerful story, beautifully told. She found a way to turn an awful childhood moment into one of strength and wisdom.”

— Bill Sherman, COO, Thought Leadership Leverage

WINSTON SALEM, NC, USA, June 7, 2020 / — In today’s world, race appears to permeate every facet of our society. With all the sights and sounds of diversity, Thrive Global ( and the American Diversity Report ( recently published I am Sienna, an article by Though Leader and International Communicator, Dr. Gail Hayes, describing her first childhood experience with racism. Hayes, who is a military brat, left the United States in 1961 to live in Okinawa, Japan and attended the 1st – 4th grades in Department of Defense Schools while living there.

“I am a child of the 60’s. When we left Durham, North Carolina to live in Okinawa, which is now a part of Japan, I had no idea what lessons I was about to learn. When I went to the 2nd grade, my mother purchased a box of 64 Crayola Crayons for me. When I got the crayons, the first thing I did was find my skin color; not because I had a problem with my color but because I wanted to see how my color looked in my coloring book. When I got my crayons, I found a Sienna crayon and immediately fell in love with it,” said Hayes, who is also an award winning author and publisher of numerous books and who has lived in Asia for over 4 years and in Europe for over 12 years.

The article tells of how Hayes, armed with the 7 year old color knowledge she acquired from her box of Crayola Crayons, went to 2nd grade and had a classmate to tell her what “color” he saw when he looked at her. Because she had already discovered her color in her crayon box, she was able to “correct” her classmate. This helped to shape Hayes into a leader in diversity and years later, she served as the 1st African American female law enforcement officer and firefighter in Chapel Hill, NC and as a Governor appointed Commissioner for her state. Ignited by her years in law enforcement, she also works with young men of color and wrote a book entitled, The Conduct of Kings which helps them embrace their identity and interact with law enforcement. When young men hear her speak, other leaders have said that they are transformed. Looking at her life, one see how the beauty and simplicity of “knowing your colors” can transform and empower a child.

“Dr. Gail shared a powerful story, beautifully told. She found a way to turn an awful childhood moment into one of strength and wisdom,” says Bill Sherman, COO of Thought Leadership Leverage of New York. Many agree with Bill’s assessment of her story and it has caused a wave of attention in social media.

“This story is a part of my life’s mosaic, and especially in light of what’s happening in today’s world, I believe it has great significance because of its simplicity. I was especially excited to see Crayola Crayons announce the introduction of its Colors of the World Multicultural Crayon collection on the same day I shared my article on social media,” says Hayes.

Hayes, who has also shared this story in the international arena, says that she wrote the story so others could see through the eyes of a child, the real simplicity and beauty of our differences. She plans to add her children’s book, I am Sienna to her catalog later this year.

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Dr. Gail Hayes and her first experience with racism as a child

Source: EIN Presswire