As we watched the events unfold on Wednesday, January 6 at the United States Capitol, we found ourselves once again awash with a host of feelings and emotions — horror, revulsion, fear, anger, heartbreak, confusion, rage, and so many more.
Let’s make it plain, what we witnessed was white supremacy on full display. The impact is racial trauma – the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. An individual who experiences an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress. In the U.S., we recognize that Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy.
This includes our children.
Voices for Virginia’s Children is deeply committed to working diligently by advocating for all of Virginia’s children always, but even more so during these deeply disturbing and uncertain days. We know that young people already carry the burdens and bear the scars of violence and injustice. We see the horrific price they pay due to systemic racism and lack of equity in our society. We hear the fear and frustration in their parent’s voices as they both hope for a better life for their children but lack the evidence that it may even possibly be so. Prior to 2020, almost one in five children experienced at least two traumatic experiences in childhood. After the challenges that came with COVID-19 and the escalated instances of racial and social injustices, we can only imagine what these numbers will look like in the coming years.
We want a better society and life for all children. We do not want each ensuing generation encumbered by the trauma of the past, nor injured by their own traumatic experiences. It does not have to be this way. We can do better. We must do better. For the children, for their families, for our shared community, we all have an obligation to do everything we can to help bring about change on a personal and a systemic level.
What’s needed is a change in our policies, a change in where we make investments and a system-wide overhaul that will finally provide an equal opportunity for children of color, children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and immigrant children to have the same opportunities as their white counterparts and more affluent peers.
We can start by supporting Delegate Aird’s resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis which outlines steps Virginia can take to address systemic racism.
Yes, this is hard work. But it’s necessary. We owe it to ourselves, to our communities, and most of all, our children and youth.
For more resources….Read More Blog Posts