At Prevent Child Abuse Oregon, we believe all children, regardless of race, class, culture or geography, should grow up in safe homes and communities. As a white woman, living in a predominantly white community, I have struggled hard in the last week trying to figure out where I fit into conversations about racism and white privilege. I’ve also struggled as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Oregon to know what to do and how to do it. The answer I come back to is that there really is no answer- no perfect way to take action, but action is needed.
If you only have 5 minutes today, leave this message and read what Marcus Mundy, the Executive Director of the Coalition of Communities of Color published in an open letter to the community last week. His words speak powerful truths that we must all listen to and truly hear.
When children of color see the adults in their lives being treated differently by police during traffic stops, being followed in stores while shopping, obscenities being yelled at them for picnicking in a park, they grow up afraid. Afraid to play outside. To walk to school. To exist. This is trauma and has long term consequences for their physical, spiritual, and mental health. We can’t ignore this trauma if we believe all children deserve to grow up in safe homes and communities. Black and Indigenous children matter. Black and Indigenous families matter.
Did you know that parents of Black and Indigenous children are more likely to be reported for child abuse and neglect, more likely to have their children removed, and more likely to have those children linger in foster care until they age-out at 18? We recognize child abuse is equally present across all demographics, yet, children of color are more likely to experience traumatic interventions rather than in-home support.
The good news is, this trauma too, like child abuse, is completely preventable.
When we take the time to learn and grow as individuals, we can undo learned behaviors and heal ourselves and our communities, creating a safer environment for all children. When we have conversations with our white children from an early age, they can become allies from the start. They can then mitigate their own harm as they walk through their own lives. Our children and communities deserve this kind of commitment to reduce trauma caused by racism.
Need ideas for how to talk to kids about race? CLICK HERE.
Looking for ways to learn and grow yourself? CLICK HERE.
This is a lifelong journey with no destination that I hope you will join me on. The future of all our children, especially Black and Indigenous children, depends on it.