This week, our hurting nation witnesses and reacts to violence and the threat of violence perpetrated against Black people and other communities of color. Structural racism evidenced by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and others before them, compels Joining Forces for Children to commit to addressing issues of race, inequity and injustice in our region. It is with renewed urgency that we will advance strategies to improve the dialogue, collaboration and responsiveness needed to heal and support our communities, families and children.
We recognize that systems of racism are an Adverse Community Environment and a root cause of unhealthy child development and adult health outcomes. This public health crisis has been called out by our colleagues at the Center for Community Resilience who illustrate the connection between Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and Adverse Community Environments (ACEs) using “The Pair of ACEs Tree”. Coming together across the community, we need courage and imagination to dismantle systems of racism so that the future looks different from our past. Only then can we hope to impact this public health crisis.