Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

11Jun/120

Ground Rules – Part 2: Stay engaged!

Ok.  So the daily writing is going to take some work.  But no worries, we'll shoot for a few times per week from today forward.  Small steps count.

Last week, we got started with laying out the ground rules that will guide our writing and discussion in this space.  The first of the ground rules was "speak your truth".  The second of the ground rules is to "stay engaged.”

On numerous occasions I've heard people talk about the work of making public child welfare systems responsive to African American children and families as a marathon and not a sprint.  That has been very true in my experience, and it seems more and more so every day.  This is hard work!  And it's all of our work to do!

There are many reasons people "check out", or disengage, from this work.  Some of this has to do with one's own comfort level thinking about and talking about race, racism and the deeper meanings of culture.  Some of this also has to do with one's growing frustration with the challenge of engaging other people in these discussions and in this work.  These are all real.  But many families are really struggling, and really need some support.  What many of them receive, however, is far less supportive, much more judgmental, and begins with the removal of their children.

The reality is that these systems will never become responsive to the real needs of African American children and families unless we all commit ourselves to the work of understanding African American family dynamics, within a social / historical / political context, and understanding how our own worldview and perspectives shape what we think about families, and thus how we engage in the work of supporting families.

We need you to stay engaged!  Our families need you to stay engaged!  It's our work to do!

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