It’s impossible to find the words to express our heartbreak. Yesterday’s tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas claimed the precious lives of 19 children and 2 teachers – all taken from their families and communities too soon. Sadly, this is the third time in one week that we find ourselves devastated and frustrated by the continued scourge of gun violence in our country. And here we are again—demanding action from state and federal elected officials. We’ve been here before, but it only becomes more painful.
We at First 5 Contra Costa County stand in solidarity with the families, teachers, administrators, and staff affected by this horrific act of violence. As an organization that serves children ages 0-5 and their families, the youngest residents of our community are top of mind today. Discussing these events with children is difficult, and there are resources available to families to help. We encourage parents to utilize local support through our Contra Costa Crisis Center by dialing 211 or texting ‘HOPE’ to 20121 as well as:
- Talking to kids in the wake of mass violence from EmbraceRace
- Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories from PBS Kids
- Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting from the American Psychological Association
- APA resources for coping with mass shootings, understanding gun violence from the American Psychological Association
We call on our local, state, and federal leaders to invest in mental health supports and resources for young children and their families to help decrease violence in our communities, help mitigate trauma, and promote resilience. It is long overdue and this inaction and under-funding continues to claim lives and impact our local communities.
We also encourage members of our community, providers, and partners to join us on Friday, May 27, from 3-4:30pm. First 5 Contra Costa in partnership with La Krisha S. Dillard M.S., is hosting a facilitated virtual community gathering space and conversation about utilizing trauma-informed care and practices to manage fears, feelings, and emotions generated by these traumatic experiences, how to support parents and children during this time, and what we as an early childcare network can do. Please join us for this very important conversation and RSVP here.
We cannot continue to do this work alone.
Ruth Fernández, Ed.D
Executive Director, First 5 Contra Costa