For over 400 years, the Black community has faced several disparities in America. Systemic racism is embedded in each organized institution in the United States: housing, every level of education, employment, criminal justice, healthcare, economic opportunities, access to childcare and maternal and infant mortality, etc. During the victory speech of Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman, he stated, “Poverty is not a result of children and families who don’t work hard… Poverty is by political design, and is rooted in a system that has been fractured and corrupt and rotten from its core from inception of America.” It is time we recognize that the children we serve face inequitable circumstances that were predetermined for them prior to birth, due to the racism interwoven into local, state, and federal policies.
Here at The Family Conservancy, we recognize that nonprofit work can often uphold systemic racism. Our services are often offered in communities that are predominately not white. For our work to truly address issues that negatively impact Black children and families, we need to acknowledge the detrimental impact of systemic racism on their wellbeing across all determinants.
The Family Conservancy recognizes that early childhood education is often Eurocentric and not conducive to the learning and safety of Black children. We recognize that on average, 63% of early childhood teaching staff are Caucasian (Early Childhood Workforce Index, 2018).
In addition, Black preschool children face expulsion rates three times higher than children in kindergarten through 12th grade, due in part to lack of attention to social-emotional needs (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2018).
Statistics also show that the historic socioeconomic disparities experienced by Black/African-American people of low socioeconomic status today can be directly linked to an increase in poor mental health among youth and adults.
We recognize that “Black and Brown infants and toddlers are more likely to be poor, to be born too small or too soon, and to live in environments that challenge their families’ security” (State of Babies, 2020).
In recognizing these things, we commit to having our TFC employees serve our clients within a trauma-informed, equity-based framework that dismantles the oppressive systems in which our communities are tied.
The Family Conservancy stands in unity with the Black Lives Matter movement. In doing so, we are committed to dismantling systemic racism, oppression, and inequities within our social structures. This work is required at every level of our agency from leadership, front line staff, to the point of service delivery. This work requires our agency to hold up a mirror to our internal systems and how they may traumatize and negatively impact our Black staff. The work is ugly, uncomfortable, and at times heart wrenching, but it is necessary. Our agency must first put our internal affairs in order so that we can focus on helping children and families achieve a lifetime of success.
The Family Conservancy is beginning this process by listening to the voices of our Black staff. Our agency is starting the self-reflection process by completing an agency self-assessment to expose our wounds so that we may heal them. The issue is not far from home because it is at home. It is very much alive in the daily existence of our Black staff, our Black child care partners, our Black children, and families, and within the communities we serve. Here at The Family Conservancy, we understand that Black Lives Matter.