Raising Changemakers: Sophie Barber

Oct 31, 2020 | Today's Family Now

Sophie Barber paints in acrylic on canvas and she paints her signs to order. You can see that her signs include the names of shooting victims.

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

On the day our children are born, our hearts are filled with hope for their futures. We bring them into the world and wish them to be strong, healthy, happy, intelligent, capable, and good despite the inherent suffering around us. We hope, in the deep pulp of our hearts, for their lives to have purpose. We hope that their tiny hands will help others, and their hearts will be filled with empathy for others. We hope they might change the world.

In this article series, you will meet several young change-makers, who have used their power to serve others and the families who nurtured them to find their “why.”


As with many Americans, the televised murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer shocked 10-year-old Sophie Barber on a profound level.

In the Barber household, “no question is off the table,” says Amy Barber, Sophie’s mother. So, the family began some in-depth conversations about the inequalities in our community when it comes to education, resources, housing, and the treatment of disenfranchised groups. “We’ve always taught openness and acceptance to all, but she started asking questions and became so much more aware of the layers of inequality. As parents, you want to keep children in their safe bubble, but we had to discuss these issues, as difficult as they are, in an age-appropriate way. What was going on in the news and in our community with the death of Breonna Taylor, well, we couldn’t not talk about it.”

Sophie’s father, Brian, says that Sophie is a natural empath who has always asked what she can do for those she sees that are suffering. Sophie, raised by two artists, decided the best way to contribute to the cause was to use her artistic abilities. She decided to hand-paint Black Lives Matter signs and sell them to friends, families, and neighbors, and then donate the money to Play Cousins Collective, a West End non-profit dedicated to strengthening Black families by providing the resources, opportunities, and support systems needed for success. “When she finds an idea she cares about, she gives 110%. Sophie is a doer; she is not in it for accolades. It just makes her feel good,” Brian says. 

Since the inception of “Sophie’s Originals” (a title her friends and family have coined) in mid-May, she has raised over $2,000 for Play Cousins Collective and has also volunteered her time with the organization.

“Police, themselves, killed George Floyd and didn’t stop or do anything about it,” Sophie says. “I just feel like everyone should be equally treated. I just wanted to do something about it.”


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