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Trauma-Informed Family and Community Engagement: Part I

Trauma-Informed Family and Community Engagement: Part I

Date of the Event: June 24, 2020 | Angie Barfield, Rodney K. Lowery, Ardie Padilla, Amy Parks, Ashley C. Rojas, and Sherri Wilson,
Show Notes:

This webinar highlighted what ACEs are on a personal and community level, the importance of understanding the impacts of ACEs and the science behind adversity. Experts and activists from Fresno, CA’s Trauma and Resilience Network shared how their work focuses on engaging and supporting children and families in building resilience and beginning to heal the generational trauma in the community.

NAFSCE Admin:

Hello, everyone. Welcome. I’ll wait a few minutes as everyone streams in. You are currently in part one of our trauma informed family and community engagement webinar series. So as you’re coming in, we invite you to please introduce yourself in the chat. Tell us who you are, where are you from, make sure that your chat goes to all panelists and attendees. Hi, Tiffany from Maryland. Coming in fast we got California, Pennsylvania, New York city, North Carolina, ...

NAFSCE Admin:

Hello, everyone. Welcome. I’ll wait a few minutes as everyone streams in. You are currently in part one of our trauma informed family and community engagement webinar series. So as you’re coming in, we invite you to please introduce yourself in the chat. Tell us who you are, where are you from, make sure that your chat goes to all panelists and attendees. Hi, Tiffany from Maryland. Coming in fast we got California, Pennsylvania, New York city, North Carolina, Chicago. Hello everyone. Another thing as people are streaming in, we at NAFSCE have a survey going on currently about family engagement during COVID-19. The link is on your screen. We invite people to take that survey. Let us know how your experience has been during this crazy time. We’ll send that link in the chat throughout the webinar as well. Ohio, Chicago, Kentucky, Texas. Welcome everyone.

NAFSCE Admin:

So thank you so much for joining us. We are also broadcasting live on Facebook on NAFSCE’s page. We invite you to share with your network there. As I said before, today we are presenting part one in our trauma informed family and community engagement webinar series. We’ve got a great lineup of presenters from Fresno, California who has an amazing trauma informed network. And they’ll share a little bit about the awesome work they’re doing. So you all are using the chat. Make sure again that your chats are going to all panelists and attendees. This webinar is being recorded.

NAFSCE Admin:

So everyone who has registered will get an email after the fact with the recording and the slides. And the last thing I wanted to mention before I turn it over to our lovely host, Sherri Wilson, is that if over the course of the presentation, you have questions we ask that you use the Q&A box rather than the chat box. As you can see, the chat moves quickly. So the Q&A is where we keep track of all the questions and we’ll have a Q&A portion at the end of the webinar. So with that, I will turn it over to Sherri Wilson.

Sherri Wilson:

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. This is a topic that we feel very passionate about. We know that there are families that deal with trauma every day. And a lot of the work that we do with those families is really impacted by that trauma. I also think that in this time in our society, we are experiencing so much more trauma than we ever have before. And it’s really affecting so many people in so many different ways that this topic is super timely.

Sherri Wilson:

So we’re so excited to bring to you some really dynamic people who have been doing this work for a while, even before the crisis all hit. And so they’ve done some really interesting things they’re going to share with you today. So I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as we will. Our agenda today. We’re just going to dive in talking about adverse childhood experiences. We’re going to transition to talking a little bit about healing justice and then the resiliency center, which I think is a really fantastic thing that they’ve implemented in Fresno.

Sherri Wilson:

Then we’ll talk about the impact on schools and the every neighborhood partnership. Once we finish going through all of the content, we will have about 15 to 20 minutes for questions and answers. So as we go, if you type your questions and answers in the Q&A box, I will try and respond to as many of those as I can as we’re going through it. And then once we get to the end, we’ll respond to as many as we can before we run out of time. Once we do run out of time, we will collect the questions that didn’t get answered, and we will share those with you when we share with you the recording of the webinar. So our first panelists today, I think you’re going to learn so much from her. Is Amy Parks from the department of pediatrics at UCSF the Fresno campus. Take it away, Amy.

Amy Parks:

Hi everybody. Thank you so much. I’m so excited and happy to be here today to give you a little background about myself. I am an LCSW licensed clinical social worker, and I work in the pediatric residency training program at UCSF Fresno. My job is pretty exciting and I love it. I get to not only train future pediatricians in everything related to children, but I also get to work with the families in our outpatient clinic, which is really my passion. I’m an infant mental health specialist. So I just love working with families.

Amy Parks:

I’m going to give you really a brief overview of ACEs today and childhood trauma. We really could talk for hours and hours about it, but then we wouldn’t have time to get to our other panelists who are going to talk about all the really exciting and innovative things that we’re doing in Fresno. I usually start my ACEs talks with a warning that anytime we talk about trauma, it can be triggering. So if you need to tune out for a minute or so, that is okay. Feel free to do so. And then also talking about trauma can be really disheartening and can make you feel really down. But I’m going to show you by the end of my talk, that there’s hope and that trauma is not your destiny. Next slide, please.

Amy Parks:

ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. And in 1998, Dr. [Felitti 00:07:05], who is a physician at Kaiser Permanente and Dr. [Anda 00:07:13] , who was a physician at the CDC, they published a groundbreaking study that investigated the impact of ACEs on physical and mental health problems on over 17,000 adult patients in Southern California. During the study, patients were given a survey asking about 10 different types of ACEs, and if they experienced them prior to the age of 18. And what their studies showed was a direct correlation between ACEs and future health complications. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

Dr. Felitti and Dr. Anda identified three domains of ACEs, abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. And 10 categories, which is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Physical or emotional neglect. And mental illness, incarcerated relative, mother treated violently, substance abuse and divorce. Now, since the original study, these categories have been changed just a little bit. So it’s not just mother being treated violently. It’s asking about any kind of domestic violence in your home. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

One of the significant findings from this study was that ACEs are common. Nearly two thirds of adults have at least one. And that ACEs cluster, meaning that if you have one ACE, there’s an 87% chance that you have two or more. And there’s a dose response relationship. So what that means is the higher your ACE score, the greater the risk to your health. And then also that later adult health outcomes were directly connected to early childhood adversity and family dysfunction. And essentially what this means is that you don’t just get over things, not even 50 years later, they’re still there. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

The dose response relationship is important in public health. Ultimately it tells us that disease is not randomly distributed. It tells us that particular people or groups of people are at risk and learning to understand who is at risk and under what circumstances holds great promise for reducing cost and suffering in the future. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

What is important to note also about the original ACE study is that the sample was largely Caucasian, like 75% of the sample. They were mostly college educated. 39% were graduates and 36% had some college education. They all had jobs with insurance. So what this tells us is that ACEs affect everyone in every demographic. Since then researchers have begun to include other experiences in addition to the original ACEs, because they have found that those experiences create the same biologic changes as the original 10 ACEs. And these are experiences such as racism, bullying, and community violence, along with others. Again, ACEs are common. They cross all lines and disproportionately affect those in low income families, those with high rates of community violence and those affected by other social determinants of health. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

To put dose response findings into practice, those who have four or more ACEs by the age of 18 in the absence of a nurturing buffering relationship are four and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with depression and 12 times more likely to attempt suicide. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

And again, those who have four or more ACEs by the age of 18 in the absence of a nurturing buffering relationship are two and a half times more likely to smoke, five and a half times more likely to be dependent on alcohol and 10 times as likely to use IV drugs. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

So let’s shift forward just a minute and talk about the biology of ACEs. Not all stress is bad. Some stress is healthy. We need stress in our life and it’s positive because it prepares us to respond to temporary challenges in our lives, such as running a race, public speaking, starting a new job. Our stress response activates and then quickly returns to baseline. The more intense or longer lasting stressors can be tolerable if we have support systems in our lives to help us cope. Those are the nurturing buffering relationships I keep mentioning. If we don’t have supports, severe or frequent exposure to certain types of stress can have a toxic effect on the body and the brain.

Amy Parks:

We call this toxic stress because it’s toxic to our bodies. If there is a nurturing buffering relationship through these stressors, then the stress is made tolerable. We or a child is supported and helped through the challenge. Whether it’s a divorce, a test, an unexplained or unexpected schedule change, it’s not the trauma itself that leads to the physical and mental health issues, it’s when it becomes toxic. Again, repeated prolonged exposure in the absence of a nurturing buffering relationship. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

Toxic stress impacts many of the brain’s vital systems. The brainstem is the most developed at birth. It controls heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. The limbic system is comprised of many important regions, including the hippocampus and the amygdala and the hypothalamus. The limbic is all about memories, fear, emotions, arousal, empathy, and it’s the seat for connection and relationship. The prefrontal cortex, sometimes called the thinking brain, is where we integrate all of our thoughts and actions and problem solving and it’s actually not fully developed until our mid twenties. The brainstem is all about survival. Responding to a threat whether it’s real or perceived. Thus the fight flight freeze that we’ve become familiar with.

Amy Parks:

The hypothalamus sends a message to the pituitary, which sends a message to the adrenal gland, which is on top of the kidney. That starts the feedback loop system that regulates various processes, including response to stress, digestion, immune system, emotion, and energy. The brainstem is hardwired. We don’t choose to go into our brainstem. We don’t choose to turn all of our brain off and just in our brainstem. We go there because the brain detects a threat and responds instantaneously to maximize survival by preparing us to defend ourselves. So that means our pulse quickens to move blood faster, energy to our large muscles is released to allow us to run, our eyes are dilated so we can see better. These are all really magnificent adaptations to survive. Now let’s look at this in real life.

Amy Parks:

Yeah, there you go. So like seeing this bear. If you were taking a walk and you saw this bear, I would freak out. I think most people would freak out. So first, our body judges a situation and decides whether or not it’s stressful. This is a stressful situation, seeing this bear. This decision is made based on the things we see and hear in the situation and also our stored memories. So what happened the last time we were in a similar situation, we call that the predicting brain. This generally results in an increase in our heart rate, an increase in breathing, our lungs dilate so we can get more oxygen. A decrease in our digestive activity so we don’t feel hungry. And our liver releases glucose for energy. This is all about survival. Blood is being pumped to our big muscles, getting ready to run or jump, just like we said. There’s a burst of glucose so we have some energy to run as fast as we can.

Amy Parks:

Our brain is now in fight or flight. We’re in survival mode. Our prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of all of our reasoning and impulse control and processing, it is shut down. It is not working. We in this state cannot make rational decisions and we certainly can’t solve math problems. And we certainly can’t remember all of the odd grammar rules we have in the English language. We are trying to stay alive. Now, eventually the bear runs off, we’re safe and our stress hormones go back to normal. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

But what if that bear is a parent or a caregiver. And that parent or caregiver drinks or uses drugs and bad things happen when they drink or use. Or you never know what kind of mood they’re going to be in when they come home or knowing that at any moment, something will set them off. And you wish you knew what it was that set them off because you would make sure you didn’t do that thing. The issue is when that threat response is constantly on alert. When the bear in the woods is the caregiver coming home at night and our body can’t differentiate between the bear and a parent. This increased stress load drains our body of energy and begins the cascade of effects that starts the health-related impact. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

This screen is really fascinating. It really demonstrates the link between early life adversity and long-term impacts on our health and development. You can see there’s risk for injury, risk for mental health issues, including maternal mental health. You have an increased risk for risky behavior, which leads to substance use independence and it also leads to infectious disease. And then you have a risk for chronic diseases. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

Now that we have a better understanding of how toxic stress affects the brain, we can see how ACEs can in fact impact a child’s behavior. The idea that babies can’t remember, or at least they’re too young to know or understand is simply not true. Babies brains are quickly developing in toxic stress in the absence of a nurturing buffering relationship at any age has a significant impact on the connections that are being made or not made. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

So children that have four or more ACEs in the absence of a nurturing buffering relationship are 32 times more likely to have learning issues and behavior problems. That number always floors me. So thinking about the toxic effects on the brain, if a child is in his or her brainstem, remember when we were talking about the brain, because their stress response is continuously activated, they simply will not be able to learn. Because those areas of the brain that are necessary for learning will not be activated.

Amy Parks:

We really need our prefrontal cortex to be engaged to learn. The prefrontal cortex, as we said, it helps us to focus, concentrate, control our impulses. These are all important things for learning the signs and symptoms you would see in a child who is experiencing toxic stress are very similar to the signs and symptoms you would see in a child with ADHD. So when I am working with a child that has been referred for possible ADHD, toxic stress and childhood trauma are always on my differential diagnosis. And I have to tease it out, what came first? You definitely could have them both together, but they both have to be addressed. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

Toxic stress actually gets under our skin and changes our epigenetic profile. In other words, life experiences changes our DNA. Not only does this affect us as an individual, but the way our bodies respond to stress can be passed on from one generation to the next through our genes. And this is also known as the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Epigenetics describes the way our genes are turned on or off, or whether a specific gene is used or not. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

This slide explains why ACEs have the effect they have. It is the disrupted architecture due to toxic stress. That explains the behaviors that result. The coping strategies, the risk behavior that lead to negative health outcomes and even early death. Historical trauma is now better understood based on the epigenetics research. And we have a better understanding of the total picture involved with epigenetics helping us begin to understand the emerging results of what happens when the mechanism for reading the genetic code is altered. Combined we now understand the mechanism for explaining how maltreatment, family dysfunction, and other sources of toxic stress interact and affect health outcomes. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

But ACEs are not destiny. Resilience is the counterbalance. Resilience is the ability to thrive, to adapt and to cope despite tough and stressful times. And it’s an ideal counterbalance to ACEs. According to the center on the developing child at Harvard university, one way to understand the development of resilience is to visualize a balance scale. And protective experiences and coping skills are on one side and with the child’s health and the negative experiences on the other. Resilience is evident when a child’s health and development tips toward the positive outcomes. Even with a heavy load of factors that are stacked against them with a negative outcome side, the more positive supports a child has, will outweigh the negative.

Amy Parks:

So in essence, what we’re saying is that the antidote to childhood trauma and toxic stress is relationships. Nurturing buffering relationships. Ideally this relationship would be with a parent, but we know that doesn’t always happen. It can be with a relative, a friend’s parent, a teacher, a coach, or principal. And remember when I mentioned before, what’s predicted can be prevented. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

Protective factors are anything that help build and strengthen the sense of belonging and connection. It’s not through the evasion of adverse events, but through successful use of protective factors to cope and become stronger. We can’t avoid what life throws at us, but we can learn to build our toolkit of strategies to cope in healthy, positive ways. It starts with awareness and an understanding of the development and resilience across the lifespan. It’s individual, but also community driven. We live in community and hope is not an abstract concept. Hope is comprised of a pathway or goals and support to get there. We build hope daily, when we build support through our social domains. When we build on the positive, we are building on brain science understanding too. We can create these new neural pathways with protective factor focus. Next slide.

Amy Parks:

This is really a call to action to change the possible trajectory as soon as possible, by being aware of the impact of stress on brain development and subsequent behaviors to support families in their healing and building of protective factors, to help children identify their emotions, talk about them and express them appropriately. To empower children to problem solve and work through their issues or problems. To promote healthy-

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:25:04]

Amy Parks:

… work through their issues or problems to promote healthy coping habits of meditation, and mindfulness, exercise, sleep routines. ACE’s work through experience, not just exposure. Exposure alone doesn’t necessarily mean a child is affected. If the ACE is prevented from causing toxic stress, then the harm should not occur.

Amy Parks:

With a caring and nurturing environment, we can build children with the resilience to protect them from ACE’s. We need to acknowledge the child’s experience of ACE’s, and how it may be influencing their behavior. It’s reframing, “What’s wrong with you?” To, “What happened to you?”

Amy Parks:

Next slide. In the pediatric residency training program at UCSF Fresno, we have focused a lot of our resources on becoming trauma informed. The first step was incorporating trauma awareness and responsiveness into all of our curriculum, and training pediatricians to always look at patients through a trauma lens. And knowing that pediatricians really are in a unique position to have a two generational effect, by identifying and treating parental trauma, and preventing that intergenerational transmission of trauma, and thereby preventing ACE’s.

Amy Parks:

I’m now going to turn it over to Ashley Rojas, who will be speaking about community trauma. Thanks.

Ashley Rojas:

Hi folks, my name is Ashley [Krisan 00:26:45] Rojas. I’m the executive director with Fresno Barrios Unidos in Fresno California. I am also a fifth gen Fresnan. I have an ACE score of about an eight, if we’re looking at the traditional scale. And I left my community at the age of 17 to head to San Francisco, where I studied community based public health and had the opportunity to learn from a lot of really incredible thought leaders in public health, in community-based public health and harm reduction, trauma informed practice and what later evolved into what is called healing centered practice.

Ashley Rojas:

I think it’s important to share those things, because when we talk about healing, we have to understand how we all arrive to this work. What calls us to this work? What do we bring with us? What are our stories, experiences, values? How in alignment or out of alignment is that with the communities we intend to serve? And so, our work always starts with ourselves, and if we were in a traditional in-person setting, I would probably start with something that’s called a [foreign language 00:03:07] and give everybody an opportunity to share who you are, where you come from, who your family is, your lineage, who are your grandparents, because it’s really important for us to understand our own interconnectedness to the place where we are, and to one another.

Ashley Rojas:

So we’re going to be talking a lot about community trauma and how this is building off of our expanding from the individual perspective that the ACE’s frame gives us. Sorry, can we go back? So I wanted to just show this image here. It’s really important. So it shows a tree, and half of the tree has leaves and is thriving, and then half of the tree is not. And why I flipped it upside down is really because we have to get at what is the root cause of… What is at the root of what manifests community.

Ashley Rojas:

We often focus on the individual manifestation and [inaudible 00:29:14] or we look [inaudible 00:29:15] at their behavior and we want to solve that specific issue. And it’s really important for us to really start at the root of these symptoms, so that we can create, A, the shift in the way in which we organize our systems and importantly, our resources so that we can truly mitigate the manifestation of harm or trauma.

Ashley Rojas:

So we can go to that next slide now. This is a really important, healing without justice is acclimation. This is important for me in particular because we often or can as providers weaponized resiliency that if we just sort of talk to families about resources or routines or how they can better navigate their circumstance to be more resilient without really changing the systemic issues or social determinants of health that are impacting that family specifically, and so we can ask families to be resilient without changing the circumstances that are truly impacting their quality of life and their health and wellness.

Ashley Rojas:

And so, Prentis Hemphill is a really fantastic embodied somatics expert that I really encourage folks to follow, explore, learn from, because we cannot ask our communities to heal without also simultaneously seeking justice, because otherwise we are weaponizing resiliency and asking for folks to just forge forward and continue to survive under really oppressive circumstance.

Ashley Rojas:

Next slide, please. So It’s really important that we understand that no epidemic has ever been solved by paying attention to the treatment of the effected individual. We know this in public health that we have to look at our systems and our funding streams. We have to follow the dollars and understand how our investment strategy is aiding or impeding our objective of healing it and mitigating again harm. And so we have to zoom all the way out and see again, what are the root causes of this and how have we historically and systemically aimed to address this issue and how have those historical systemic efforts, like what have the results of those efforts’ been, and then to truly realign our resources and efforts to mitigate harm.

Ashley Rojas:

Next slide, please. So moving beyond the individual, this is really important because we do not live in as individuals Fresno [foreign language 00:32:11] who we really operate with are culturally centered and healing centered model, and we serve predominantly Latinx young people. And so we pull on a lot of indigenous Latinx indigenous practices, and it’s really important to remember that while we are each sovereign, we are also inevitably interconnected. And so what you think, do, believe, behave, impacts those that you share space with and are in community, whether you intend to or not. And so we have to really understand the way in which we are all interconnected.

Ashley Rojas:

And so moving beyond the individual here is really important, because we have to see what are the societal norms, practices, structures that are historically and systemically dominant, and what are the societal norms, practices and structures of the place-making communities, and how in alignment or how are those two things interacting. I would really like to have folks or I hope folks are familiar with associated ecological model that helps us understand how we are organized as a system. So how our structures, norms and practices become our societal and systems, our laws, policies, frameworks, what we research, who is doing the research, our organizations, and then down to community.

Ashley Rojas:

So, some of these examples are, this is using an example around violence against women. So some of our social or dominant norms would be addressing patriarchy or in Latino community like machismo and really understanding how those power dynamics impact or lead to the manifestation of the health outcome for women navigating gender-based violence or folks navigating gender-based violence. And it’s really important to understand that the norms influence the establishment of laws and resources and policies and all the way down. So there is no way to separate from what is manifesting in community to what is being set in place at the societal level. So, can we go to the next slide please?

Ashley Rojas:

When we think about community trauma in particular, it’s really important to understand that trauma is pervasive, in the previous section we heard the possible impacts on development, health, and wellbeing. And I think it’s really important that as we look at a community lens on trauma that we are also naming that there are concepts of polyvictimization complex trauma and not just post traumatic stress, but continual traumatic stress. So this is like those ongoing or reoccurring stressors, and that could be community violence, et cetera, multiple forms of violence and trauma that exist in communities that have been systemically and generationally impacted.

Ashley Rojas:

And while trauma-informed care is becoming a standard of care, we are still missing a significant investment into a cultural, not competency, but cultural humility, and really centering the necessity that folks from communities or who have shared identities are the ones best suited to serve those communities. And it is really challenging if you do not have that shared cultural understanding to truly affect change within a community. And then I saw some folks in the comments going back and forth about partnering with community-based organizations and I would really encourage folks to landscape your local community and find who are the local CBOs and not big national CBOs, but local CBOs that know your specific community culture climate and have deeper roots and closer connections to the folks you intend to serve, because they really are the trusted messenger that’s where the investment should be made. These large national nonprofits are really important in the landscape, but are not effective at being sort of cultural brokers or changemakers at that level because they are often not the same folks who we intend to serve.

Ashley Rojas:

The ACE’s model is a predominantly medical model around how do we treat the symptomology of the presenting issues, and what’s really important about trauma. A community trauma lens is that we have to really, again, zoom out and look at social determinants of health around systemic and historical inequity, and again, at the root cause of our social disease that then leads to the manifestation of these things. And so what we know is that the systemic and historical divestment, which is rooted in racial inequity manifest as intergenerational poverty, long-term unemployment, and a number of other outcomes in regards to equitable opportunity, and when it comes down to people, we see disconnected and damaged social relationships really dislocating social norms, a low sense of collective political and social efficacy.

Ashley Rojas:

And this is really important because oftentimes there’s a narrative around low income or communities of color being apathetic or disengaged in social change, local elections politics, and that is completely not the case. What we have instead are communities that have been historically and systemically harmed and have experienced and are carrying generational trauma in addition to their own individual traumatic experiences. And so what we have are actually communities that have been systemically and historically disempowered or robbed of access, and so they are mistrustful and disengaged. And it is really important that we do not label our communities as apathetic, but that we instead really understand what is learned helplessness and how do we began to repair the harm, rebuild trust so that we can engage communities, so that they are leading and driving and effectuating the change that they deem necessary and urgent for their communities, because they are the experts in their own lived experience, and should be trusted and should be leading.

Ashley Rojas:

There’s really no better model than those most impacted leading the way towards their own liberation. And the way this manifests in place is by placemaking divestments from low-income communities, often unhealthy or unsafe environmental impacts and this manifests in Fresno in a really apparent way. There’s been a long history of race-based divestment that South Fresno, which is a predominantly Latino black community, Southeast Asian immigrant community has significantly been divested from which means that there are unfinished neighborhoods, there are no parks, there are toxic processing plants in those communities that then impact the air quality.

Ashley Rojas:

There are brownfields of waste and it communicates a devaluation of the space in which these folks live, which just perpetuates harm in divestment, when in reality, we should be recognizing the systemic and historical harm caused to that neighborhood and repairing that harm by acknowledging or what’s often referred as like a truth and reconciliation process, and we have to acknowledge the original harm, and then we have to invest in repairing and rebuilding, and you cannot do that by repeating processes that center systemic and historical powers, but that center the folks that have been most impacted. So we can go to the next slide.

Ashley Rojas:

So there are emerging strategies for collective healing that move beyond trauma-informed practice and often are what are called healing-centered practices. And what we know is that to create equitable opportunity, we have to invest in economic empowerment and workforce development with a trauma-informed or healing-centered lens, that we have to invest into restorative justice, and alternatives to traditional impunitive criminalizing processes. We’re seeing this conversation nationally with the George Floyd uprisings and the call to defund police. And I think it’s really important to demystify what that call means. What it really means is reinvesting into communities and retooling the way in which we meet the social disease. When we see high crime in our neighborhoods, when we see any of the manifestations of historical and systemic harm, it’s really important to understand that we cannot continue to forge a way forward that does not acknowledge what we are doing is only deepening the harm.

Ashley Rojas:

And so when we are calling or when folks are calling for defunding of the police, we are also actually simultaneously calling for reinvesting into our communities. We know this in public health really well, that we cannot just invest into system failure, but that we have to invest into prevention, early intervention, diversion, all of the other ways in which we help people get well and that we repair harm. And we can’t all just be catching people after they’ve fallen off of that waterfall. And so when we talk about people, we have to repair the harm. This is trust building. We have to let do a lot more listening. We have to center trusted messengers, and we have to, as folks leading systems, we have to look at ourselves and repair the harm within our own systems first, before we ask our communities to try to build resilience to better survive the harm that our systems are causing.

Ashley Rojas:

And this manifests as livable wages investing in local wealth building, ownership, this looks like developing social networks that are led by communities. This looks like investing in the physical and built environment in improving the quality of life, transportation, access to safe and affordable housing, environmental justice. And so all of these things are interconnected and unavoidably so, and so we need to have, not just the micro, but the mezzo and macro lens on these issues as well. Next slide, Please.

Ashley Rojas:

So when we talk about community trauma, I’m sorry, this is a little hard to read, we are really talking about trauma-informed community building that is led by folks most impacted. And this is a model that was developed and tested by community-based organizations, specifically the bridge housing program in San Francisco, and it really is about a holistic approach to community engagement that recognizes the impacts of community trauma on residents’ lives, and puts the onus of repair on two systems directly. And it is not the residents or the communities responsibility to better weather these impacts, but that is our job as system leaders to retool and refine the way in which we’re designing care and networks of support to better meet the needs of our folks.

Ashley Rojas:

So this is a proactive model that serves as a precursor to traditional community development. It assumes that communities require a set of common experiences and conditions to participate fully in community building and benefit for sustained community development. It deescalates chaos and stress, build social cohesion and fosters community resilience, all of which are fundamental to repairing harm and cultivating wellness. It is really important that we’re thinking long-term and about sustainability. It is also really important that we are holding ourselves accountable and are not passing on burden onto community members, and that we are looking at our own systems and the way in which we are protecting or upholding systemic oppression or marginalization. This looks like re-evaluating your screeners, this looks like re-evaluating the way in which you train your physicians. This looks like every bit, how much of this work can we assume the burden of, so that the folks suffering the consequences of this are not expected to solve this for us. Next slide, please.

Ashley Rojas:

So here’s some of the core principles, strategies and practices of a trauma-informed community engagement model. The principles are really important. Structural frame or social justice frame. I think there is a growing commitment to social justice and in this moment to racial justice, but what we’re really talking about is actively deinstitutionalizing systemic white supremacy and really acknowledging the original harms or the original, some people would say sins of our nation and really engaging in actively recoursing so that we can heal and truly cultivate wellness. The do no harm is a really, really important piece, and this for me goes back to not weaponizing resiliency, not putting undue burden on community. Do you know harm can also be called harm reduction? Like how do we make this a safe and as painless as possible?

Ashley Rojas:

We have to accept hard truths and have very challenging conversations, and we need to accept that our communities have had, and have always had the answers and the power. They have just never been resourced or given their long overdue, see that the table, to drive their own way towards liberation. And we have to be thinking about sustainability, how our investments pouring into communities in ways that are additive and not extractive. How are we ensuring that they are sustainable, and the way that we do these, some strategies, community-driven research towards community organizing and policy change, again, community owning and community driving peer-to-peer, folks with the same lived experiences being prioritized and put into pipelines for professional development. We need our thought leaders to be folks with these lived experiences.

Ashley Rojas:

I, as a person who experienced a lot of trauma as an adolescent, I’m much more skilled and capable at serving adolescents who are navigating trauma because of the duality of my personal lived experience and my education, more so than folks who solely have the education because they don’t have the cultural or lived experience to connect with the folks that we intend to serve. Creating personal expression and placemaking, again, this is about ownership. They need to drive. It’s got to look like them, it’s got to taste like them. And then this really important work that I heard folks mentioned around brief work and emotional support as restorative justice.

Ashley Rojas:

And I’ll give an example here. Two weeks ago following our Black Lives Matter protest, we had a lot of impacted families locally that have been impacted by police brutality that felt really invisible in that moment, and we’re really, I think both impassioned and rewounded by the large turnout of support for George Floyd and police brutality that our community showed because they did not feel that same level of support or accountability from local [inaudible 00:49:50] or community when their loved ones were harmed here locally. And it was a really important opportunity, and so we convened a community healing circle for families that were impacted by local police…

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:50:04]

Ashley Rojas:

Community healing circle for families that were impacted by local police brutality. To give them space to be held by community and in community, to be supported, to be uplifted, and to be loved while they express grief, rage, pain. And to not be stifled or muffled and to just have folks holding space for them and inviting them to show up exactly as they are without asking for the editing or for them to package their grief in ways that are tolerable for decision-makers to hear. And it allowed for a lot of our local impacted families to move from that place of helplessness or rage to a place of action and accountability. Where then they were able a day or two later to say, “Okay, how do we effectuate? How do we actualize change?”

Ashley Rojas:

And some of those practices are acknowledge harm done. This is a really important one when we’re talking about truth and reconciliation. Acknowledge the harm done and promote consciousness, this means owning our work. How have we been a part of the harm? And how do we sit with that knowledge? Because it is painful to acknowledge that we have been a part of the harm. And then how do we begin to unlearn and relearn so that we can moving forward? Because I’ve seen a couple of folks put in the comments, “There is no going back. There is no normal.” We are being invited to forge a path that is new, that is centered on our collective humanity, minimizing harm to one another.

Ashley Rojas:

And again this idea that we are yes, individually sovereign and inevitably interconnected and so we need to build a new way forward that serves our collective humanity much better than what we have designed so far. So there is no going back to normal. It is important to lift up and honor history and celebrate culture. Much of American history is told from a singular narrative and the harm of that is it erases the perspective and power of other narratives. Imagine if we told the story of the pilgrims from the perspective of indigenous folks how that story would be different. If we taught our young people about the Spanish and the ways in which they colonized California from the perspective of Natives, I think that would be a very different story.

Ashley Rojas:

Our communities are rich with culture and history and diversity and we would be better for celebrating that and for lifting it up. And that’s what it means to be not just an ally but an accomplice. And this is a really important one to never over promise. Our communities have been systemically and historically harmed and are mistrustful of government and rightfully so. And whether you see yourself of government or not, if you were in a position of power over folks you need to own and understand that. And we can not over promise because we will just perpetuate harm and further build mistrust. We need to make community growth and accomplishments visible this looks like celebrating, this looks like newspaper articles, this looks like storytelling.

Ashley Rojas:

And we need to ensure consistency, if you’re going to show up if you say you’re going to show up do it, if you say you’re going to bring resources do it. Please do not parachute into communities, drop some resources short-term and then leave. That is more harmful than if those resources were never there at all. Support meaningful community engagement structures. Again, if you’re going to do a community research project fund the local CBOs working with your families. Do not fund an external research agency or an institution, please fund local organizations and consult with those research experts to help them craft things that are made by them for them. We say a lot in our work, nothing about us without us.

Ashley Rojas:

And promote safety, but I really want to challenge you to re-imagine what safety means. Safety is not law enforcement or suppression tactics safety is investments into life affirming resources and enhancing communities. So actively remove participation barriers. Please do not ask system impacted individuals to participate and help you learn about what they need if you are not going to compensate them for their time, if you are not going to provide childcare and meals and transportation. Because again, this is often how we can be weaponizing resiliency or being further exploitative of communities that have been systemically and historically harmed. So please pour more into communities than you are taking. Foster social cohesive and be very reflective in your process. Always look at what could we have done better before we put onus on community.

Ashley Rojas:

Can we go to the next slide please? So these are some guiding questions that I think are really helpful for folks is, what parts of our justice movement should we prioritize partnering with? Because there’s a lot, right? Environmental justice, reproductive justice, economic justice. Where’s the most urgency right in this moment? It is certainly in racial justice and I think the very interconnected economic justice. And another guiding question, what impacts do we intend to produce in the leaders and formations? So who do we want to see leading? How do we want to resource them? And what is our role and the level of internal political alignment do we have? What do we need to develop and deepen as systems or institutions or community-based organizations?

Ashley Rojas:

How can I be better equipped to meet this moment to serve this community? How can we continue to dismantle white supremacy and practice racial justice within every aspect of our work? That is one that we all have to sit with as folks working in health and healing and especially in regards to trauma. What organizational infrastructure and growth will we need to carry out our work? How do we need to change? What do we need to look like internally? Do we need more peer outreach workers? Do we need a communication strategist? How do you really think about how you’re equipped to meet this moment?

Ashley Rojas:

Next slide, please. This is a photo of a vigil that we held at Fresno Barrios Unidos for a young man who was lost to police brutality. He was shot while running away from the police. He was 16, he was a suspect in a homicide and he was never afforded the opportunity for justice. And that caused a lot of tragedy in our community. The video was not made publicly available until two years after his death and it caused a lot of retraumatization because not only did we lose a young person, but we were lied to about what happened. And we were retraumatized when we saw what actually happened. And so for three years now, we have been in a community healing process around this incident.

Ashley Rojas:

And with the George Floyd uprising his name was in some local demands for change and his family was unaware of that. And that’s what we mean about the disconnect as well-meaning movement leaders or social justice advocates that we have got to be close to the folks most impacted or we will cause unintended harm. And we know that intent and impact are different and impact lasts longer. And so, this was a community vigil that we held following our community healing circle. A couple of days later we had a portraitist do this large gorgeous portrait of Isiah Murrietta-Golding. And we as a community were able to process grief, we were able to mourn, we were able to acknowledge that it is us who keep us safe.

Ashley Rojas:

We keep each other safe and that we will need to stay engaged as a community in this process to reclaim our power and to reclaim our safety. And so that quote is one of my favorites, it’s a guiding light for me, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” And so we talk a lot about how do we love each other better? How do we show up as more human in ourselves to meet the folks that are feeling the impacts of all of this most? So thank you all so much. And I’m passing it over to Rodney with the Resiliency Center.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Thank you Ashley for your path [inaudible 00:59:41] that was stirring. Good afternoon everyone, my name’s Rod Lowery and I’m the Director of the Fresno Police Chaplaincy along with the Resiliency Center. A little bit about me. I’m a retired officer with the Fresno Police Department. I spent most of my time working on tactical assignments over the years. And I think what I’ve probably learned from my experience both in law enforcement and now on the nonprofit side is that as we continue to ask the wrong question, Amy Parks brought this to mind. As we continue to ask children what’s wrong with you rather than asking what happened to you, we’re going to see the same results, the same trajectories. We’re going to continue to incarcerate children.

Rodney K. Lowery:

I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and really the only change that I’ve seen is now my children who are engaged in law enforcement are simply arresting some of the children and the grandchildren of those that I arrested. So it’s an archaic system. I guess the good point is that we as an industry are beginning to recognize that and looking for ways to better police in the future. So my time this afternoon with you, I’d like to discuss how we can broaden the lens for law enforcement and add some new tools that would allow them to be more effective. Especially when handling calls with children, along with helping the officer move through their career and stay emotionally healthy throughout that career. Because that’s not only good for the industry but it’s good for our community as well.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Most often we think of police calls as being liabilities. Questions from leadership may be how do we deploy our resources to a rising demand with limited resources? Consider most people that find themselves in a crisis they reach out to law enforcement. That first call is to their local police department or Sheriff’s department. Now, imagine if we can stop looking at calls for service as an industry, as a liability and look at them as possibilities. But in order to do that, our industry is going to have to begin to be challenged. Just like some of the things that Ashley spoke about, we’re going to have to listen to some difficult conversations and respond appropriately.

Rodney K. Lowery:

So if you would, I’d like to show you one way, a practical way using the data that every police agency has to actually better the community. If you would advance that slide, please. In California we incarcerate more juveniles than any state in the nation. At any given time there are roughly 20,000 kids locked up. Please advance. Of those kids that are incarcerated 75%, three quarters of every child that is locked up, has been a victim of some sort of abuse whether it’s physical, psychological, or sexual. One more slide, please. 93% of all juveniles who are incarcerated have some sort of ACEs score. One more, please.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Now that begs the question, are we locking up children because they’re bad seeds? Or are we locking up children because they’ve been victimized and have had no effort or there’s been no mechanism in place for healing? Back in January of 2018, Fresno Police Department along with the Resiliency Center took a look at what type of calls were coming through our event system or event tracking system on a daily basis. Fresno PD we look at probably about 1,500 to 2,000 events per day. And what we’ve learned is, and we’ll move through these slides pretty quickly these are broken up in quarters, but you can see these are events only. These do not quantify how many children were involved in event.

Rodney K. Lowery:

So committal of 5150 we see that’s 104 in January, obviously that means that it was 104 individuals. But if you move down and you see it say shots fired into an occupied dwelling, that only tells us about the one event not how many children were exposed or in the home or even in that neighborhood. So as large as the volume of calls for service are, unfortunately the calls victimization whether direct or indirect on our children here in the city of Fresno, and I’m afraid in the cities where you live also is much higher. Move through that next slide, please. And as you see, as we go through these slides, that on average we see about 500 to 700 events per month involving trauma and a juvenile.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Next slide. And the next. Again, they stayed pretty consistent. After extracting the numbers from the calls for service we then asked the question, where are these calls occurring at? And as you see this outline of the city of Fresno, the call load of these events are basically centered in the central part of Fresno but certainly expand to all parts of the city of Fresno. Next slide, please. Here we have child abuse. Now, if you’re looking at the map you’ll see the light pink and lighter yellow, that would be the pink is the Northwest section of Fresno light yellow is Northeast. These are probably considered the more affluent areas of Fresno. And you notice that the child abuse calls for service are equally distributed both in the Northwest and Northeast.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Next slide. Domestic violence we average about 600 events or calls per month. And again, you’ll see that they are more dense in the central part of Fresno but certainly span out to all areas, all five areas. Next slide, please. Molestations. Again, this shows that they’re equally distributed throughout the city. So this is not necessarily a Southeast or Southwest problem issue it’s a city issue. Next slide. Our runaways. Typically we see about 3,000 runaways per year just in the city of Fresno, 109 square miles alone. Next slide. And here you see the attempt suicide by juveniles. We have more attempts what we would consider on the more North affluent, Northwest and Northeast side.

Rodney K. Lowery:

One more please. So currently we have a system, really an archaic system that probably most cities involved with their local law enforcement. Where a child may become victimized the parent or guardian reaches out to that local agency and a report is taken, arrests are made. And then at that point the case is closed and/or we go to trial and it’s adjudicated, but the work of local law enforcement is done. And I think over the years what we have failed to see is really opportunity on the side of our industry is acknowledging that there are always multiple scenes. It’s not just the scene of the original investigation but there’s a scene at home that needs to be impacted.

Rodney K. Lowery:

Unfortunately, in my opinion, law enforcement is not always going to be at the right place at the right time, have the right personnel or the right resources to deal with long-term traumatic events. Especially if these events are generational where we deal with many calls that offer generational trauma in the city of Fresno and the resources and the trainee are not there. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not opportunity through law enforcement to begin to use the data in a way that creates a more holistic and practical net to make sure that we don’t lose children to traumatic occurrences that change the trajectory in their lives. Again that question was asked, “Are are we locking children up because of their bad seeds or what they’ve done? Or are we locking up children because of what happened to them?”

Rodney K. Lowery:

And I think that question is answered in the data that we’ve shown that we’re incarcerating more children than any other state in the nation who have been victimized. And again, there’s no mechanism in place. What we’re proposing through the Resiliency Center is now that we understand that we can capture this data that comes into the police department and actually mine that data begin to extract calls for service. Every time a call comes in through the Fresno Police Department, we look for calls that involve children and trauma. Those calls are then segued into the Resiliency Center. We’re fortunate that we have the ability to share the network or the same network with the Fresno Police Department.

Rodney K. Lowery:

And we believe that this is something that is easily replicated in other areas. When we receive the information of a child that has been involved in a, whether it’s a crime direct or indirect or a witness to domestic violence within 72 hours, we reach out to that family for some psychoeducation. Meeting with the parents or the caregivers, and then offering an opportunity for that child to be placed into clinical counseling, again back within that 72 hours. A second achievement that we’re hoping to launch this fall with Fresno Unified is the information that comes through the Fresno Police Department needs to be shared with the local school district.

Rodney K. Lowery:

When a child is impacted by a traumatic event and the school is unaware that can often lead to potentially unruly behavior. Maybe a teacher that suspects the child is just misbehaving and there’s just really a lack of understanding what that child is going through. And really that in itself can push a trajectory on a child that’s unwarranted. The information that each law enforcement agency has with respect to children who are being victimized it just has to be shared with the local educational institution. Now, and I don’t mean things that would be confidential, simply being able to garner that information of a child that is impacted through a trauma.

Rodney K. Lowery:

And then simply reaching out to that child’s school and saying, “When little Johnny or Susie comes back, please handle with care.” I think there are other products out there across the stage that handle their cases or their children like that. And that’s part of the Resiliency Center is just looking at opportunities in policing. There’s a call for reforming certainly we do not dispute, I don’t think any law enforcement agency would dispute that as an industry we need to get better. And that, I guess, the silver lining in the cloud, if there is one, is that we understand that. We are looking for ways to respond to our communities better.

Rodney K. Lowery:

And we see one opportunity by mining calls for service involving children and getting those children’s segued into mental health. And then branched off into other community resources who can walk with these children much longer than say we could. Is the hope that we would like to share with the rest of this country is just seeing that the resources and the data that local law enforcement has. And being a data-driven agency to impact and affect change through our community. So I thank you for this opportunity. It’s my privilege I get to acknowledge Angie Barfield, who is a Program Specialist…

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:15:04]

Rodney K. Lowery:

Acknowledge Angie Barfield, who is a program specialist with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. So with that being said, Angie, I’ll let you take it from here.

NAFSCE Admin:

Thanks Rodney. Hi everyone. I’m Angie Barfield. I am a program specialist with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools office, and a lot of what I’m just going to show you today is what our office did from the education arena. How we took steps to identify where our students of color were struggling the most and where we could support our districts in moving forward in addressing their issues.

NAFSCE Admin:

So, next slide please. So our office, if you’re not familiar with the setup, we have County offices of education. I’m proud to say I work for one of the best County superintendents in the state of California, that’s really progressive in moving forward in addressing issues as it pertains to African-American students in particular. A lot of our data shows that our African-American students are struggling. They’re performing below their peers. And so our organization decided we wanted to look deeper into it. And we found that without community, it was going to make it very difficult for our students to find success in the system.

NAFSCE Admin:

So when we started our work back in 2016, it was right after the killings of Philando Castile and others. And so the students were beginning to share with us a lot of their pain. They were sharing with us racism in classroom and on campuses. They were talking about the low expectations that their teachers and others had for them. And then the biggest thing was is they didn’t know who they were. And so we took it upon ourselves to say, you know what? We were talking about equity. And we began to ask the question, do we have a clear understanding of what equity is in our system? So we took the deep dive and we exhibited courage and we start moving in a direction.

NAFSCE Admin:

So, next slide please. So our answers of support were courageous conversations, and it started with our County superintendent hosting some conversations with our district superintendents, with African-American students, about their experiences within their district, on their campuses and in their classrooms. From that we created what we now call the Fresno County Superintendent African-American Student Advisory Cabinet, which we invite students from our big four, big five districts where 98% of our African-American students are represented to come and sit with our superintendent three to four times a year to have conversations about the goods and the bads. And he acts as the conduit with our County superintendent so that they can all move together in addressing issues that are affecting the academic outcomes for our students.

NAFSCE Admin:

We also created an Ujima. Ujima is the third principle of Kwanzaa, which is collective work and responsibility. But it’s a servant leadership academy specifically and only for African-American students to begin to develop their soft skills and social skills, but as well as their cultural knowledge and awareness of who they are as African-American students and to find their place in leadership and to build their confidence so when they’re in these classrooms, they can move through regardless of what that environment may look like, but they can also encourage their school district and their district administration to look at things that create a safer and more inclusive learning spaces for them.

NAFSCE Admin:

And then we also, from all of these things, I’m sorry, I missed C.H.I.P.S, which is character, honor, integrity, perseverance, and service, which is a summer transition program that we partnered with our largest school district, Fresno Unified, and also Fresno State, where we host students for four days. And we walk them through preparing them to engage high school for the first time, because that transition in itself can make or break a student’s success.

NAFSCE Admin:

So then with all of these voices and all these conversations we were having, we went and formed our community convenings. And that was back in 2018 where we brought our community in after having conversations with students and with parents and decided our next steps needed to look a little different. So we wanted to bring the community to the table. And from that, and you’ll learn a little bit more about it, we created what we call now our Community Voices for Excellence Resource. And you’ll see that a little bit later.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide. So when we started our work, for me being an African-American woman, I wanted to really develop a program in an environment where our students understood what we were doing with them, because there was just this disconnect in their abilities to engage and to move forward. And so this is something that I share with them, with all of our sessions when we bring them together, it’s the Sankofa bird, which reminds us that we must continue to move forward, but we have to remember where we came from. And they’re planning seeds. These children are planting seeds for future steps so that their younger brothers, sisters, cousins and alike, don’t have to experience some of these things. And hopefully our systems will look back at this and learn from it and want to move in a direction that’s productive for all.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide, please. So the Ujima Servant Leadership Academy, we collaborated with four of our districts. What we do from the County level is we provide breakfast and lunch for these students because we understand that for some of these kids, this is the only meal that they get throughout the course of the day. So we wanted to bring them into an environment of love and support so they understood who they were and why were there. I can tell you from the first time that we started, when they all came into that space and saw the only people in the space look like them and only them, it scared them at first because they weren’t used to it. And I’m sharing that with you so that you understand that you can’t expect for these students to engage spaces that they are not normally welcomed into. So you have to create spaces for them to find themselves and start healing so that they can engage certain areas in order to move forward.

NAFSCE Admin:

So things that we talk about is what you see there on the screen. We talk about black health. We talk about alien identity versus authentic because we’re talking about identity theft, how our true identity as black people were stripped away from us. And then it was replaced with thugs and all these other things that are just not the character of African-American people. And so we provide them and surround them with the best of their culture. The book that we use is right there on the screen by Dr. Chike Akua, who is doing amazing work around the country right now in this. And then we just kind of slowly walk them through the understanding of who they are. And then we always want them to understand that their elders are a wealth of knowledge for them and that’s where their growth and healing can begin. So cultural awareness is important.

NAFSCE Admin:

And then we close out this session with a servant leadership advocacy project, which means they go back into their schools and find those situations and scenarios that are not healthy for them and find out solutions. They do data digs, they do culture… I mean, it is amazing to watch these kids at the end of this process, to give over to their administrations solutions, to help improve outcomes for their kids. So that’s Ujima Servant Leadership.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide, please. This is just a picture of… This was actually year two. So we grew and it grows. The demand is so high for this particular program right now that we’re trying to figure out how do we serve more? But you can see the smiles on their faces. They grew. They feel great about themselves and they all love each other and they’re all from different school districts, when otherwise they were pitted against each other. They all came together.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide please. This is just another one where now we’re teaching. One of their projects is they go into the elementary school levels and they teach culturally responsive lessons to students about contributors, African-American contributors in history. So we’re doing the work. We don’t have a lot of black teachers in our schools, but we can create opportunities for our students to share this information.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide please. The presence of culturally relevant and responsive curriculum is an absolute must. Absolute, absolute. So, “Until have their own historians, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” So we want to change the narrative.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide, please. This is our African-American Student Advisory Cabinet. These particular students created what we now call our plan of action. You can see it here on the screen, where they literally decided we have a goal and a vision. We have school site expectations, and we have roles as students. And these are the things that we want to put forward and we hope that our administrators will sign on to it and take steps to improve things in their districts, for their kids. And you can see they all signed it. They stood behind it, and it is leading the charge in the work that we do.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide, please. C.H.I.P.S Summer Immersion. We continually tell our kids, “Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.” Graduation, great character building, being the best you can be. And we bring these kids together. We break through challenges and barriers, confidence, things like that, so that when they walk onto that campus, the fear factor has been removed completely. So we are now in our fourth year of C.H.I.P.S.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next one. So what we did as a district is said, it’s time to move forward. We have got to act on this. Our students are demanding that we do better for them and on their behalf. So we did create the convening work groups. On the side here is just kind of a breakdown of what we had in mind, what we wanted to look through, how we wanted to walk through it. And then how ultimately at the end, how we as Fresno County Superintendent of Schools can push forward and guide our communities in having these conversations, how we can help our school districts to do this work to improve outcomes for our students. Most importantly is acknowledging and recognizing that African-American students are present and they are not thugs. They are not criminals. They are not students of low expectation. They are here for a purpose. And to respect that with the community support.

NAFSCE Admin:

Next slide, please. And these are the numbers that drove our work. As you can see, we now have more than 220,000 students, but at the time that this data was started, these were our numbers. And you can see that African-American students were at the bottom. And it’s enough to make you, for me, it made me cry. Because as an educator, I have a responsibility to ensure that not just African-American students, but all students are being productive and are finding their way through this system. And these numbers don’t lie. These are not made up. But you can see 73% of our kids were graduating. It doesn’t make any sense. Only 3% of them are enrolling at our state colleges. So we had some work to do, and we asked the community to come forward and they did just that with our document. And it is available online at our website. So you can see what our community came together to do. Bringing together CBOs, bringing together schools, bringing together parents, bringing together students and just having some really hard conversations. And those are the steps. You have to be able to want to do that.

NAFSCE Admin:

So, next slide please. So I will leave you with this, and it’s important those of you that are in education, or just even if you’re not, but want to be an ally, I ask that you really ponder the thought that, “In order to empathize with someone’s experience, you must be willing to believe them as they see it and not how you imagine their experience to be.” That’s by Bren√© Brown. And that really stamps true with our education system right now. So with that, I know that we are flying through this, but Artie Padilla is next with our Every Neighborhood Partnership, and who’s a great CBO partner that’s doing this work with us.

Artie Padilla:

All right. Thank you everyone and I’m going to fly through these. So this is just one example of what our organization does, and you all have gotten a taste of why there’s so much hope in Fresno with the speakers that preceded me. I’m so proud of my colleagues. Next slide. So ENP, we look at Fresno. This is the city limits of Fresno broken up into the 92 public elementary school neighborhoods in the city of Fresno. So we as an organization build these servant volunteer teams that consistently serve in the schools and in the neighborhoods around Fresno. So we’re currently in about 52 schools here in Fresno.

Artie Padilla:

Next slide. Now we use activities for both the kids and the parents. Now a lot of these pictures, they’re pre COVID, obviously. COVID has really messed things up, but we continue to work. This is an example of a Saturday morning program at one of our elementary schools we call Saturday sports. And these volunteer teams, they create these safe spaces for the kids to engage in activities, conversations, things like drumming, community drumming. And we just do this on our school campuses, off school campuses. We do drumming and yoga for PE for some of our elementary schools. We do Latin dance.

Artie Padilla:

Go to the next slide, I think that actually is a Latin dance. This is for kids. So we’re teaching, we’re doing PE at some of our schools, and we get the whole classroom involved in Latin dance exercise and in yoga and in drumming. But there’s always a message about what’s going on inside their emotions and things like that. So it’s not just fun. There’s some social, emotional connectivity to that as well. So we do the same thing with parents in the cafeteria at a lot of our schools as well.

Artie Padilla:

Next slide. I showed this picture of food. We are the heartland. We feed the country, yet we have so many food insecure families here in Fresno. So we do a lot with food, not just simply food distributions, but we use food as a way to work with our families to learn about cultural cooking. So we do a lot of cooking demos for the community. One example, really brief, we had some of our moms in one of our neighborhoods teach the kids and the other parents how to make homemade flour tortillas and then they made cheese quesadillas with that. So it was a cultural experience. They had a great time sharing their culture, and it also educates on nutrition.

Artie Padilla:

Next slide. This is a one of our school resident groups. They’re going through a series of workshops that we do in several of our school neighborhoods. This particular group is focused on a park that they are advocating for in their neighborhood. They’re actually writing a grant to develop their own park.

Artie Padilla:

Go to the next slide. This is a group of parents in another part of Southeast Fresno. They are going to develop a series of alleys that will be pedestrian walkways for kids to get to and from school because there’s a lot of pedestrian accidents in this particular neighborhood. So they’re taking the ownership of cleaning up their alleys, working with the city to get the debris taken away. They’ve already put in murals on some of those cement walls on the left-hand side there, and they’re just going to be doing this to create these healthy pathways through the alleys.

Artie Padilla:

Next slide. Another neighborhood. This is sadly a lot of our streets in South Fresno and especially Southwest Fresno. This is a street that obviously hasn’t had much attention in the last few decades. So this particular school has advocated and talked to their city council person, their school leaders, and they actually have gotten approval from the city that they are going to repave this street within the 2020 timeline. And they also have already placed more traffic signs in this particular neighborhood to help with the traffic congestion. That’s already been done. So that’s an example of how we work with our parents and empower them to run their own neighborhood associations.

Artie Padilla:

Next slide. Also in Fresno, we’re building a civic infrastructure of community-based organizations that are place-based. They work in these neighborhoods year round. Work alongside the CBOs that are embedded in those neighborhoods for both human development, community development, economic development, all of that, all woven into what you’ve heard from Ashley and Amy and Rodney and Angie. All of this stuff is not done in isolation. We have to look at things from a human centered design. And I think what Ashley said through a healing centered focus. All of these have to be woven in over time and we don’t do it perfectly, but we feel really good about the path that we’re on. So I think I’ll leave it there and leave out some time for Q and A.

Sherri Wilson:

Actually we are pretty much out of time for Q and A. I do have just a couple of questions. I want all of the panelists to turn on their cameras and microphones. Just a couple of really quick questions, because I think we can answer these pretty fast. Rodney, what is a 5150? Rodney, are you with us?

Ashley Rojas:

I can answer that if you…

Sherri Wilson:

Thank you, Ashley.

Ashley Rojas:

The 5150 is a legal hold on a person experiencing a mental health crisis, mandates in California, 72 hours of medical observation. So it’s different state by state, but it’s really one of the only ways that you can mandate mental health sedation for somebody experiencing a crisis.

Sherri Wilson:

Thank you. And Ashley, don’t turn off your microphone because the next question was for you. What is the model called that you spoke about that moves beyond the individual?

Ashley Rojas:

Trauma informed community building.

Sherri Wilson:

Trauma informed community building. Great. And then we’re only going to do one more question today because we are already way over our time. Our panelists have done a fantastic job of responding to some of the questions in the Q and A box as we were going. We are going to take all of the questions that didn’t get answered today. We’re going to try and follow up and get those answers and send those out to all of our participants, our registered participants. But in the meantime, I think this is a really important question I wanted to ask for Amy before we go, because I think this is something that is pretty serious. If somebody is depressed, do they have to tell you that verbally or how would you know?

Amy Parks:

No, very often it’s not verbalized. You would see it a lot of times in behavior. And the short answer is no. There’s a longer answer, but it really depends on some people are internalizers and some people are externalizers. So if they’re an externalizer then you’re going to see their behavior. They’re going to act it out. If they’re internalizers, it’s all going to go inside and you’re not going to see much and you may not even hear much.

Sherri Wilson:

Thank you all so much. I’m blown away by the presentation today. You guys did an amazing job. It was powerful and informative, and I think all of us are going to be moving to Fresno now so thank you. A reminder to everyone else. Next week we have the second in this three part series, and we’re really going to look at the trauma informed practices through the lens of Statewide support from the Statewide Family Engagement Center and a communication strategy from Ready4K.

Sherri Wilson:

And then our final session will be on the 22nd of July, kind of tying all these things together and looking at the whole picture with the Statewide Family Engagement Center from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Please, if you get a chance, log on and take our COVID-19 survey, it’s going to close on Friday, but we want to capture as many voices from the field as we can. And we’re going to continue this conversation around trauma once the summer is behind us and we have an opportunity to reflect on everything we’ve learned and start to put it in practice with our community of practice on 9/1. So thank you all so much for joining us. Thank you, panelists. I am so inspired by all the work that you do. It was a tremendous presentation. We really appreciate it.

Artie Padilla:

Thank you.

Ashley Rojas:

Thank you.

NAFSCE Admin:

You’re welcome.

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:39:04]

 

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