We Come Together as One to Create Loving and Safe Communities

Two mom and daughter pairs, each pair of a different race and skin tone, sit on the floor and dance in front of a table of blocks.

Statement from First 5 Contra Costa Executive Director  

To our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander friends, neighbors and families: we stand with you in your grief, rage, and calls for justice in response to the anti-Asian violence we’ve recently witnessed, from Atlanta to closer to home in San Francisco and Oakland. Many of us and the families we serve see ourselves and the people we love in the lives that racism and white supremacy have stolen. On behalf of First 5 Contra Costa, I extend our support and solidarity to all those who have experienced loss and trauma as a result of the ongoing attacks on communities of color in this country.

It takes only looking at the past few weeks to recognize the pervasive systemic racism we’re up against, whether it is the shootings of six Asian American women in Atlanta and the mounting violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, the 1-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s murder, or the deplorable outlook thousands of migrant children and families currently face at the southern border.

These events are all part of a system of white supremacy and oppression, whose chief aim is to strip us of our humanity, divide us, and designate some of us as less worthy of safety, a home, dignity, and care. This aim is 1) morally wrong and 2) a threat to our vision that all of Contra Costa’s children are healthy, ready to learn, and supported in safe, nurturing families and communities.

This moment calls on us to heighten our efforts to root out systems of oppression and dismantle them, and to join, shoulder to shoulder with families and our partners, in working toward policies, systems, and services rooted in justice and a celebration of our common humanity. Only by acknowledging our shared struggles and working together will we build a world where all children thrive.

In solidarity,

Ruth Fernández, Ed.D.
Executive Director
First 5 Contra Costa

 

 

How to Talk to Children About Racism

  • The Conscious Kid, an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth: https://www.theconsciouskid.org/
  • Embrace Race, raising a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race: https://www.embracerace.org/
  • Raising Race Conscious Children, a resource for talking about race with young children: http://www.raceconscious.org/
  • Teaching Tolerance, to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy: https://www.tolerance.org/

 

How to Find Support with Trauma and Mental Health

  • BEAM, to remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. https://www.beam.community
  • Contra Costa Crisis Center, if you are in need of someone to speak with or listen, dial 2-1-1 to access the Contra Costa Crisis Center, available 24-7 to help people through crisis, and provide or connect them with culturally relevant resources in the community. https://www.crisis-center.org/
  • RYSE Center, a safe space building youth power for young people to love, heal, and lead. https://rysecenter.org/

 

Additional Ways to Support Our Community

Our Children Are Watching, And They Are Learning From Us

This is a moment where we, as the adults in their lives, must step up.

On Wednesday, we witnessed an assault on American democracy at the US Capitol. Our democracy is the means by which we uphold our ideals of liberty, justice, prosperity, and community. They are the very ideals that create the conditions for young children and families to thrive. They are integral to who we are and what we do at First 5 Contra Costa. 

It is enraging that this attack came alongside blatant displays of racism and white supremacy. Throughout history and up until this current moment, our country’s legacy of racism has put up hurdle after hurdle in giving all Americans a voice through their vote

And yet, in the face of these challenges, our democracy has grown to include more Americans in its representation. This election is a shining example: voters faced a global pandemic, massive disinformation campaigns, and voter suppression here in California and beyond. But thanks to the tireless work of our local elections officials and community organizers, we turned out in record numbers in Contra Costa to vote. 

This week’s events call on us to build on the strength of our growing democracy, while also reckoning with our racist past and present. We must actively work to create a future for ourselves and our children where all belong, are heard, and valued.

As ambassadors and advocates of young children and their families, we at First 5 feel and embrace the weight of our leadership. We are called upon to be the voices and stewards of civility, honor, peace, and love. Our actions and responses today shape our children’s future.

This is why, we must now come together, as a community and as a nation, to defend the democratic values and principles that make possible our visions of liberty and justice for all.” 

Ruth Fernández, EdD
Executive Director
First 5 Contra Costa

 

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Resources:

For Young Children:

Offering comfort (during tough times), Sesame Street
https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/comfort/

Exploring Emotions, Sesame Street
https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/emotions/

“When You Feel So Mad, That You Want to Roar”: Dealing with Angry Feelings Daniel the Tiger, PBS Kids.
https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/when-you-feel-so-mad-that-you-want-to-roar-dealing-with-angry-feelings

 

For Parents, Caregivers, Teachers, Providers

Talking to Kids About Tragedies and Civil Unrest, First 5 LA
https://www.first5la.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-tragedies-and-civil-unrest/

Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol, National Education Association
https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/talking-kids-about-attack-capitol

Struggling To Discuss Tough Topics With A Kid? Here Are Books That Might Help, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2020/12/31/952445588/books-to-share-with-kids-during-tough-times

Resources for Teachers, Beyond the Spotlight
https://beyondthestoplight.com/2021/01/06/resources-for-teachers-on-the-days-after-the-attack-on-the-u-s-capitol/

How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol, National Geographic
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/family/2021/01/talking-to-your-kids-about-chaos/ 

Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News, Child Mind Institute
https://childmind.org/article/racism-and-violence-how-to-help-kids-handle-the-news/