DCI Statement on Racism and Police Brutality

 This year has been filled with challenges and uncertainty. As we mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others impacted by senseless violence and police brutality, our community continues to face an unprecedented health crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community partner that walks alongside families, children, and youth in Durham, the Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) is in solidarity in calling for justice for the Floyd, Taylor, and Arbery families. But we know calling for justice and accountability is not enough – we must also address the policing, criminal justice, health, education, and economic policies and structures that continue to disproportionately impact and traumatize communities of color. We, as an organization led by an African American man, know that we must confront the issues of systemic and institutional racism and police brutality head on.

The emotions are justified. We want to acknowledge the anger, fear, and frustration of the people in our community and to thank all the peaceful protesters. For all the wrong reasons, the events of the last week are a stark reminder of what many Black and Brown people in our country face on a daily basis.

 The impact is real. The Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) stands with Durham and will do our part to ensure families have supports in place to address the grief, trauma, and uninvited mental health stress caused by brutality against Black and Brown bodies and the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that youth are the catalyst of change, and, with partners, we will seek opportunities to engage and empower our youth in expressing their thoughts and working towards growth and healing from this trauma.

To our families – we want you to know we will continue to be here for you in addressing the social and emotional needs of you and your child(ren) with tools, resources, and activities.

 To our staff – we want you to know that we will continue to support equitable practices, social justice, and being an actively anti-racist organization.

 The Durham Children’s Initiative remains committed to serving our families and knows that we have more accountability across the larger community and work to do within Durham County. We share support for those in our community who have divergent experiences with regard to race and ethnicity, and recommit ourselves to uplifting silenced voices. We at DCI value and need your ongoing partnership to do this critical work with our shared community.

We are grateful for all of those working to create positive and lasting change in Durham and beyond.