On Thursday, February 24, the Texas Family Leadership Council and CHILDREN AT RISK hosted the second annual State of Black Children summit. The summit, sponsored by Amazon and Amerigroupexplored the challenges Black children face growing up in Texas and how to best support them from cradle to career.

 Dr. Thandeka Chapman (UC San Diego) and Dr. Nikki Jones (UC Berkeley) discussed the disproportionalities Black children face in their interactions with school discipline and the juvenile justice system.  Dr. Jones emphasized the need for buffers and bridges to decrease their interactions with the juvenile justice system.

During the education panel, moderator Dr. Stella Smith (Prairie View A&M) and panelists Dr. Keffrelyn Brown (UT Austin), Dr. Vicki Mokuria (Stephen F. Austin University), Mr. Andre’ Watkins (Owner, SevenPeace Solutions), and Dr. Ashley Williams (Jumpstart) discussed the importance of having Black teachers in the classroom with Dr. Williams emphasizing the need to center Black children and their experiences instead of “othering” them in the classroom. Mr. Watkins shared that the modern-day form of discipline more closely resembles punishment, and that discipline by definition should facilitate brain development, motivate and engage students, cultivates critical thinking and problem solving, strengthens racial and ethnic identities, and promotes a sense of safety and belonging.

Finally, Jessica Bundage (Children at Risk) and Dr. Aisha White (University of Pittsburgh) discussed the benefits of the University of Pittsburgh’s  Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education (P.R.I.D.E.) program and how it helps young Black children develop a positive racial identity and how the program can be emulated here in Texas.

To learn more about the Texas Family Leadership Council and our collaborative working groups, visit childrenatrisk.org/txflc/ 

This post was written by Jessica Bundage. Bundage is a program coordinator with CHILDREN AT RISK whose work is focused on research, racial equity, and statewide collaboration.

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