For the last several days, emotions that have run high for generations have clearly reached a boiling point, here in Chicago and throughout the country. The understandable outrage, profound sadness, and deafening demands for change stemming from the death of George Floyd and countless others before him are feelings that we at Prevent Child Abuse America share. For those who grieve, we grieve with you.
We remain steadfast in our mission—to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children—and we continue to envision a world where all children grow up happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in supportive families and communities. To do this effectively, we focus on a comprehensive approach, proactively creating the conditions for thriving children and families. To be truly successful, we must actively dismantle the root causes of stress and anxiety that can lead to child abuse, including systemic, structural racism and discrimination. Research consistently highlights the disproportionate exposure and effects of trauma and adversity within communities of color, but too many of our policies and systems produce, rather than eliminate, such disparities. We know that we can do better, and that most Americans want every child to grow up feeling secure.
We cannot tackle these issues single-handedly—no one can—but neither can we sit idly by and allow our children, families, and communities to suffer. At moments like this, it is more important than ever for us to stand together to advocate for racial justice and equity. To do so, we rely on strong partnerships—with our nationwide network of state chapters and Healthy Families America affiliates, with external collaborators at the local, state, and federal levels, and with leaders in the business and civic communities. We all have a role to play in creating a better future for every child, regardless of the color of their skin.
We call upon everyone in our network to take action and support those affected by this time of unrest—in whatever ways you can—to continue to educate and spread awareness in your communities, and to work together to protect children from the effects of systemic racism. At Prevent Child Abuse America, we are deeply committed to reforming the systems that have jeopardized the safety of our children as a byproduct of the persistent racial inequities they produce and exacerbate.
Together, we CAN prevent child abuse, America—because childhood lasts a lifetime.
Dr. Melissa Merrick
President & CEO