Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes. If Not Now… When?
Since the inception of the United States, structural racism has been deeply embedded in our society and plays a significant role in the everyday lived experiences of people of color. Over the last several months, the murders of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have added to the numerous names of Black lives that have been senselessly and unjustly taken away. People and communities of color experience greater interaction and engagement with law enforcement and our judicial systems simply because of the color of their skin. These increased interactions have resulted in negative outcomes, such as much higher rates of incarceration – even death – for people of color.
The North Carolina Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association (NCIMHA) joins the grief, pain, anger, passion, confusion, frustration, and sadness of events and experiences related to the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of police officers.
We stand in solidarity with communities of color, tribal communities, and marginalized communities, including immigrants and refugees, across the nation and the world and commit ourselves to mitigating the chronic trauma that racism has had on generations of children of color, their families, and the early childhood workforce.
We hold in mind parents and caregivers of color who are tasked with protecting and creating a safe space for their children while also managing their own emotions. We also hold in mind the early childhood mental health workforce of color who strive to hold and comfort families while managing their own emotions.
The NCIMHA expresses ultimate condolences and gratitude to the family of Mr. George Floyd and other families still grieving the loss of their loved one and for promoting peace and humility in the face of despicable and unspeakable violence. The NCIMHA, to uphold our commitment to the Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children, and Families, takes a stand against oppression and injustice, as well as structural and institutional racism. The NCIMHA commits to:
- Recognizing and combating discrimination. Discrimination harms adults and the infants and children in their care.
- Confronting privilege where we hold it and use it strategically and responsibly. Privilege constitutes injustice.
- Working with communities of color to disrupt institutional racism.
- Publicly speaking out against racism and racist ideologies that perpetuate injustices and oppression.
- Fighting for equitable opportunities for children and families of color.
- Calling out and addressing inequities in our systems and institutions.
- Supporting the emotional wellness of people and communities of color.
- Moving beyond “respecting humans” to “being human.”
- Demanding a response and action to the question, If Not Now… When?
Sharon Loza, North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program
Karen Carmody, Center for Child and Family Health
Paul Lanier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work
Catherine Joyner, North Carolina Essentials for Childhood
Ennis C. Baker, Center for Child & Family Policy
Caroline Chandler, UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health
Dr. Irina Falls, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Karen McKnight, North Carolina Head Start Collaboration Office
Ebonyse Mead, North Carolina State University
Rhodus Riggins, Jr., University of North Carolina- Greensboro/Alamance Community College/Bailey, Pullis, & Riggins LLC
Tina Welch Saunooke, Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Jodi Whiteman, Public Consulting Group