We extend our care, concern, and sympathy to our nation’s Black communities who are grieving the death of George Floyd and their many loved ones who have been murdered, and who live in fear that more loved ones will die senseless deaths. “We Can’t Breathe,” a statement from the Coalition of Communities of Color is the most powerful one I’ve seen.
But, for too many Oregon children, the deck is stacked against them from birth. This is especially true for our Black children, whom exist within a society built on their oppression and the oppression of other marginalized communities. They breathe in messages, subtle or otherwise, that their futures are less bright and their bodies less deserving of safety. Their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, and mentors must balance their own parenting hopes and dreams with the stark reality that – for their children – the world is stifling, unfair, and dangerous.
In fighting for bright futures for all children, we cannot ignore the impacts of race. We must point out that although there is no prevalence data that shows abuse happens more in Black families – Oregon’s Black families are reported on, investigated, and their children removed into foster care more often than other communities. We must point out that systemic racism creates ongoing stress that impacts the mental and physical health of Black children – even when they are raised in safe, loving families. We must acknowledge that systemic racism compounds the already overwhelming challenges faced by Black victims of child abuse.
It’s important to look at these realities with eyes wide open – we cannot build the bright, hopeful future we need by ignoring our past or present. We can all do something in our personal lives, with our own children, and in our workplaces. Today, we share our staff’s commitments to becoming better advocates and leaders within the child welfare field.
- We commit to active participation on the National Children’s Alliance Equity Committee, which establishes quality standards for CACs.
- As a gatekeeping entity that holds the power to uplift and discourage systemic shifts, we commit to evaluating our practices and remedying instances in which Black and other marginalized communities have been unable to meaningfully participate in decision-making.
- We commit to acting on recommendations provided to us by Black survivors and Black community members.
- Beginning immediately, our staff will undergo the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge created by the Michigan League for Public Policy to help us de-center whiteness and move forward with cultural humility.
Together, we hold Oregon’s Black children in our hearts as their communities grieve and acknowledge that black families reside in every county in Oregon. Let’s be of service to organizations doing racial justice work and be humble in examining our own shortcomings. It’s only in acknowledging our mistakes and missed opportunities that we can grow personally and in unison toward a better future for all children. Our sparks may feel dimmer right now, but with intention and action they will flame brighter than ever before.
Statewide Organizations Deserving Your Support
Portland Metro Organizations Deserving Your Support