The 5 Hills Pageant in Copperas Cove is known for its expansive community service across Central Texas. Its 2021 Miniature Five Hills is tackling a topic much bigger than herself.
When your father was Fort Hood's Soldier of the Year and your mother is a teacher, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. One 4-year-old is doing just that spreading a message of the importance of inclusion throughout her community, with the help of her mother of course.
Haelyn's mother Hana Hendrix said, "I think it is a generational curse that has been passed down a long time. You know racism and being afraid to accept different cultures or thinking that one is better than another."
Understanding the complexities surrounding cultural diversity is a lot for anyone, let alone a 4-year-old. However, Dr. Elizabeth Casey, professor of curriculum and instruction at A&M Central Texas said these conversations are important to have with young kids.
"I think we're always learning from each other. So, I think this is a great topic for it's a huge topic for a little four-year-old to take on, but it's a great topic," said Casey. "As the child grows up if they have that foundation of diversity and equity, and you know, we're all part of this global society, I think that just grows as the child grows, and each year as they move through adolescence and into adulthood, I think it can help them to be a more compassionate and ... understanding person if they're if they're exposed to differences early on."
Hana said while it's a complex topic, it's about introducing the concept on a level kiddos can understand.
"It has the pictures and a lot of kids their age can't read but they understand the pictures. And they can see one boy is in a wheelchair the other one has a turban on one does not have hair," said Hana.
Haelyn uses the book 'All are Welcome' by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman to get her message across.
Hana said Healyn has tons of books to give away and plans to keep working on her cultural diversity platform.