Together We Grieve, Together We Stand, Together We Lead

Silver Spring, MD - The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) stands with every Black child, adolescent, young adult, caring adult, parent, grandparent, caregiver, senior citizen, and family across the nation that we advocate on behalf of, and fight to protect. In short, we stand with and for Black communities. During the past few weeks, we have been devastated by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as a result of police force while our hearts and minds were still grappling with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.    

Today, NBCDI is again making a statement-not in support of legislation that will advance equitable solutions or address longstanding inequities, but rather in response to yet another senseless, unconscionable act visited upon Black people by law enforcement officers who have taken an oath and are paid with tax dollars to serve and protect. NBCDI calls for all former officers who contributed to the death of George Floyd-as he was helplessly pinned to the ground, and in no way resisting arrest as he begged for his life-to be brought to justice.

Our communities are grieving and we believe our nation is grieving. We must remember there are stages of grief and a natural part of grieving is anger. Let us not forget protest is fundamental to the founding of our nation and has been central to all major advancements celebrated in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement is now celebrated, but during the Movement's protests and calls for justice, the often diverse, peaceful protesters and activists were vilified, terrorized, and arrested.

We cannot allow the media to define our stories. Let us challenge them to have us share our own stories-in our own words, and with our own voices. The change we are demanding requires a big tent strategy that includes the engagement of diverse citizens. Further, the change we seek takes time, but our comprehensive and layered strategies of active mobilization will work. 

These strategies must include protest, speaking truth to power, serving in elected offices, writing campaigns, supporting organizations that contribute meaningfully across all levels, holding individuals and institutions accountable for their unjust and illegal actions, and voting. We must vote to ensure the election of people who advance and ratify equitable legislation. And then we must hold those elected officials accountable for the implementation of equitable policies and regulations that acknowledge, value, and honor the humanity of all people.

Today, we close in a different way. In addition to standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who, like us, bear the physical, mental and emotional scars these injustices continue to visit upon us, NBCDI is calling on our partners who work tirelessly on Capitol Hill, as well as in the trenches advocating for equity in the early care and education sector, to commit to understanding fully how these injustices impact our communities. We implore you to gain insight into our pain, grief and anger, raise your voices in solidarity, and stand with and for the Black families who are most often impacted by and stand to benefit from your work.

While you are advocating for our children and families, NBCDI calls on you to ensure your leadership is representative of those whom you serve. We implore you to invest in all staff by supporting their growth, professional advancement, and leadership abilities. NBCDI also calls on you to look internally to ensure your organization's policies and practices are equitable and are not inadvertently reinforcing, perpetuating, or fanning the flames of inequity that fuel our communities' pain.

We thank you for your partnership, your passionate long-standing advocacy and commitment to educational equity. We look forward to continuing to stand with you. Our hearts are hurting as we are praying for healing, transformation, peace, and the ability for our sons and daughters, men and women to just BE and BREATHE.

Cemeré James 
Interim President & CEO



Helping Children Respond and Cope: NBCDI Resources