Statement in Response to the Death of Ma'Khia Bryant
The Schubert Center for Child Studies faculty and staff were devastated to learn that Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio, was killed by a police officer responding to a call for help. For this to occur just before the release of the Chauvin verdict reminds that we still have a long way to go to fundamentally change our institutions of public safety and justice. While we are still learning more about this incident, the result is the death of a child and we extend our thoughts to Ma'Khia's loved ones and to the all the people, especially all of our young people, who repeatedly bear witness to these kinds of traumatic and incalcuable losses. We see you. We urge you to be with those who care for you. We support young people who are raising their voices for change.
We also understand that our Black and Brown children are especially at risk of experiencing trauma and violence due to our country's historic disinvestment in their communities and ongoing systemic racism. In his lecture for our Center yesterday, Dr. Dexter Voisin clearly illuminated the experience of "loud and silent trauma" borne by our youth of color.
As a Center dedicated to the well-being of children and families, we seek to advance knowledge for the protection and betterment of all our young people. We are working to ensure that police policies reflect an understanding of child and adolescent development, trauma and racial bias, including guidance for age-appropriate de-escalation tactics. We recognize, however, that policy change - while essential - is not sufficient alone for meaningful culture change. In particular, we urge support for the use of positive youth development and healing through a wide array of community-based alternatives to police responses, particularly for youth and families in crisis. We stand committed to working in partnership with young people, families, and community and public leaders to ensure all of our children are safe from harm, healthy, supported by caring adults and with opportunities for realizing their best selves.