Our hearts are broken by recent events and the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and more.  These tragedies continue to surface the racism that exists. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, citizens of the world are standing in solidarity with the citizens of the United States to demand justice and condemn police brutality. 

On our TVs, out our front doors, or perhaps shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors in the street, we watch peaceful protests coupled with righteous anger and frustration. Unfortunately, in some places, instigators are also causing chaos to erupt in communities across this country.  These are challenging times, and ACRC stands with those who are persistently and peacefully working to advance the cause of human dignity.   For those of us who work in the child welfare realm, we use terms like ‘disproportionate numbers of children of color’ and ‘traumatized communities’, but we are so focused on the fires at hand that we often don’t acknowledge the fires that are simmering beneath – the true fires that lit up Minneapolis and numerous other cities this week.

This is a moment to remind ourselves who we are as an Association and why we do what we do. We believe in the potential of ALL communities. Youth and families drive our work. The pain that is rippling through black communities and families from coast to coast is palpable for anyone who chooses to feel it. It IS a choice. Taking action is a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. Standing arm in arm, using your voice is definitely a choice. This is not a problem for black people to solve, and it has been heartening to watch white people and people of all races and nationalities come together to advocate for change. As an organization, our shared values and beliefs recognize that systemic racism and implicit bias are real and that, as leaders, we must model and advocate for diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity. 

I’m one of those sitting in my comfortable living room looking to use words to support my friends, my colleagues, my fellow humans during this excruciating time. It feels like much too little, but I am channeling the words of Dr. Bruce Perry as I write this:

Fire can warm or consume,
water can quench or drown,
wind can caress or cut.

And so it is with human relationships;
we can both create and destroy,
nurture and terrorize,
traumatize and heal each other.

Healing is our thing, right? It’s our life’s work. We are experts, professionals, the best of the best.  This will take more courage than we can imagine. Let’s begin today. In the upcoming months, ACRC renews our commitment to center critical discussions of equity and race at our gatherings and collective learning opportunities. We commit to providing tools to help you do the same. It’s the 10th anniversary of our position paper on Trauma-Informed Care in Residential Treatment. That’s a good place to start as you look for ways to support your staff and youth in your charge through the trauma we are all experiencing. 

Public figures have noted that we are living through the viruses of racism and COVID-19. We will heal from both, together.


Kari Sisson

Executive Director, ACRC


To create an equal society, we must commit to making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our work. Join this workgroup and partner with fellow ACRC members to create an anti-racist platform and resources to support short and long-term action.


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