Statement by The Child Center of NY CEO Traci Donnelly: We Stand in Solidarity

As an organization and community dedicated to service and to the potential of every child, it is The Child Center’s job to be there for families through trauma, sickness, and loss. This is our commitment every day, but it has taken on a profound meaning as we process a series of challenging and painful events.

The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor — who should have been celebrating her 27th birthday today — have reopened old wounds and injustices that have existed for too long. As providers, we have seen and experienced up close the pain that is inflicted when someone endures the senseless loss of a loved one, the indignity of injustice, and the restoration that can occur when a caring community is there to help.

As an organization dedicated to the well-being of children and families, part of our mandate is to attend to the impact of these incidents on our clients, both physically and emotionally. We need to make sure they are safe, and to create space for them to express their pain, anger, and grief — and to get support. This is what The Child Center does, and we have redoubled our efforts during this critical time.

We are also are here for our staff, who also need support. This week we held virtual listening sessions, led by trained facilitators, to encourage staff to express the impact of current events so that we can more fully support our work environment and our clients. The sessions were extremely open with heartfelt and honest dialogue. Staff members expressed their fear and worry, their desire to be able to answer our children’s questions, and influence positive change. I was deeply moved that so many appreciated that we made a call for action to push for results and change in our own house, and that we are providing a safe and open platform.

What I heard most is that people want justice for all. That is what we pledge to continue fighting for.

We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown families and staff. We will keep working to transform lives and fight inequities through our work, and continue to be there for our clients during this difficult time. We will continue to bring services and opportunities to the under-served communities in our city. We will continue to advocate passionately for government policies that support equality and justice. And we will continue to do all we can to give our youth a voice, providing safe platforms for the next generation of leaders to be seen and heard, and to shape policies. Our young people are so full of promise and hope, and they are our best bet for the future.

We will get through this together — by listening, by speaking up, by working, and by supporting one another and the communities who need us more than ever.

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