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A message to our community

23 September 2020 |

Children's Institute stands with our community as we in Rochester and across our country face the tragic consequences of violence arising from ongoing structural racism. We are deeply saddened by the suffering and loss Daniel Prude’s family has endured due to police actions. We experience the devastation and grief, and witness the impact this tragedy has, and will continue to have, on his loving family, the African American community, and also our community as a whole.  We raise our voice to also mourn the deaths of Jaquayla Young and Jarvis Alexander, and we send hope for all persons to heal from the gun injuries, trauma, and loss from this weekend’s shooting event in Rochester, NY.

We recognize that racism includes social and cultural factors that contribute to norms of violence befalling our homes and community. We see a vigilant need to promote healing in our ways of being with one another as re-traumatization from exposure to racism and related violence persists. We feel the urgency for systemic change in our organizations and communities. As individuals, and professionals, we are called to promote peace, justice and equity in public and private ways. 

What can Children’s Institute contribute to the collective movement towards anti-racism, healing and hope?

We continue scholarship and joint action with partners to call out racism in ourselves, our institutions, and our community in order to prevent violence and injury. We advocate for safe and responsive settings that support healing for the children and families witnessing violence or experiencing brutality from racism's many forms. To promote anti-racism, healing and health, Children’s Institute continues to listen, unlearn, and relearn. Our actions include:

  • Emphasizing greater reflective practices of cultural humility among our own staff and child-serving professionals in order to foster the capacity for collective healing and anti-racist initiatives,
  • Revisiting and considering applications of Children’s Institute’s project submissions on children’s exposure to violence from the Safe Start Initiative,
  • Re-orienting our training, seminars, screenings, and other services in order to more specifically address issues of equity, safety, access, and anti-racism,
  • Partnering with early education programs in schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) to increase access to technology, health and educational resources among families with young children in Rochester,
  • Reframing dialogues and content in social and emotional learning (SEL) through the critical lens of anti-racism,
  • Building understanding and examining our own practices to be aligned with racial justice as a core value, growing our understanding of racial equity and justice through routine opportunities for facilitated dialogue and learning, dedicating staff time to participate in a racial equity and justice change work, and examining and improving practices to foster greater cultural humility, diversity and inclusion.

Children’s Institute recognizes racism as a public health crisis and is committed to working collectively towards an affirmative anti-racist future with the goal that our community’s children, families, and staff of color have lives free from violence and filled with safety, love, options, hope, healing, and health—exactly as Daniel Prude, Jaquayla Young and Jarvis Alexander’s families desired for them.

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