ACEs - Humanity's Common Denominator
Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are an important public health issue. Everyone can help prevent ACEs by using strategies to create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children.
We also must work to change the systems that shame the traumatized and perpetuate trauma rather than provide healing. I'm invested in educating how poverty, inequity, addiction, racism, toxic masculinity and homophobia - among other things - are manufacturing the Fear Culture we live in. We separate and isolate when we fear the behavior that childhood trauma has created, rather than move in and nurture each other. It's never too late to choose to live in accordance with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. It takes a village. It really does.
I am specifically invested in serving the healing of ACES in two populations that are each close to my heart:
People who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated
the LGBTQ population in particular in relationship to faith communities
Treating Violence as an Epidemic
Multitudes of complex trauma, high ACEs scores litter the "other America" and we continue to re-traumatize Americans who have few working financial, foundational, or familial resources. We say, "lift yourself up by your bootstraps"... And we watch Cracked Up with Darryl Hammond and are blown away by what he's been through. (I'm going to avoid the spoiler)... but look how it impacted his life! His mother's untreated intergenerational trauma, possibly handed down multiple generations, and Darryl had access to 30+ hospitals, doctors, medications and straight jackets. Even with ALL of these resources at his disposal, our systems of care couldn't name what the issue was and he was misdiagnosed and unnecessarily medicated for years until one doctor, who understood trauma, helped him find the source of his addictions, his cutting, his mania. That's WITH RESOURCES.
What about those without? What do you do if symptoms of your deep trauma can't afford hospitals? Doctors? Multiple medications?
What if your behavior generates fear because of your skin color and you are shot instead of taken away in a straight jacket to a mental hospital?
What do you do when the unresolved grief is so debilitating, and you live in an environment of toxic masculinity that prevents you from cutting yourself for relief? What do you do instead? When your skin color and poverty and incarcerated and murdered father/family/friends already provide too many strikes against you? What do you do with the grief? With the abandonment and the parent wounds, a racist justice system, identity issues born of national abandonment? Media that shows others "winning, looking happy and getting stuff"?
Without social emotional skills learned in childhood, without a working economy providing stability and hope, with the one functioning economy devised to trap folks in addiction and incarceration... with absent mothers and murdered fathers. Who do you look up to? Who do you aspire to be like? Probably the guy with the gun. He looks powerful.