Shay Mitchell is trying to be the best possible example for her 8-month-old daughter, Atlas. The 33-year-old Pretty Little Liars star has been candid on social media about her desire to raise her biracial daughter to know her worth as the U.S. continues to fight against racial injustice and police brutality.
"We're reading books, one of her nighttime books is A Is for Activist. We're starting her right now because I think it's so important to educate them at a young age so they know that truly no matter what you look like, you deserve to love and be loved without judgment, be all and end all and that's it," Mitchell tells ET's Katie Krause. "Especially coming from a mixed family herself. I hope it's in our generation and I really pray that it's in hers as well that there will be a huge change and I slowly see it right now."
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I am hopeful that the next generation will abandon the prejudices of the past, and embrace and accept people based on who they are, versus the colour of their skin. Black or White. It doesn’t matter. All she sees are people who love her. Racism is a learned behavior. It starts and stops at home. ❤️
Mitchell is also working with the Safeguard initiative, which launched on Monday. The initiative is donating $10 million to promote hand-washing habits among kids and to provide underserved communities and families with free hand hygiene products.
"As communities slowly start to open up, kids are going to be going back to school and playgrounds, and we just want to teach them the importance of washing their hands and maintaining a healthy routine," Mitchell explains.
As for her young daughter, even though she's only eight months old, little Atlas is already a veteran hand washer.
"We have started already. It's part of her nighttime routine. She's touching everything, putting everything in her mouth, so you want to start them as early as possible," Mitchell says. "It's part of the time she goes to bed, we're like, 'It's time to wash your hands.' I sing 'Happy Birthday' twice over. I may or may not do a little dance, it's a whole routine, but she's certainly laughing the whole time, and it's definitely something she'll look back on, hopefully with fond memories."
Mitchell also adds that because her daughter likes to copy her at this age, she tries to set a good example.
"So with her seeing that I'm doing it and she'll hopefully do it, so when the world opens back up and we go out, we know that they're continuing to do so," she says.
Though Mitchell is working hard to bring up Atlas the right way, she admits that her first year of parenthood hasn't exactly been what she expected.
"Matt and I travel so often, being able to spend as much time as a family together with her at such an early age is incredible," she gushes, before adding, "However, there are obviously challenges because I wish my mom and my dad could be here, Matt's family, my grandma, obviously, I want her to have time with Atlas, so as soon as things hopefully open up and it's safe. I can't wait to go to Vancouver and bring her over there."
As for her advice to other parents and fans who might be struggling amid quarantine, Mitchell says, "Take it day by day and let's just do what we can to keep ourselves, and not only ourselves but our family, friends, and our community safe, you know, maintain a healthy lifestyle."