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African American Babies Coalition Quarterly Newsletter! Checkout the latest below!
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July, 2016
Volume 1, Issue 5

Thank you to all who were a part of the Standing Up for Children Healing Conference! It was a great success.

Elders, young ones, families, and community activist came together to stand up for children. Through dialogue, education, and networking a space was provided for growth to improve the well being of African Americans and in turn create a safer community for our babies. 

Standing up for Children Reception
   Minnesota Youth Summit                   Shaking it Up Award Winners
Features in the Newsletter:

What has happened?
 

What is to come?

- TPT Brains are Built video distribution

- Service Provider Trainings

- Community Conversation Host Training

- Me and My Baby Building Bag

Special feature

Words from Charles Logan, elementary student, regarding community strengths in child development
Youth Summit Recap
This year, Brandon Jones and Andrea G. Mosby co-facilitated the Minnesota Youth Summit Healing Forum. Together they explored historical trauma in the African American community and how that affects relationships (friendships, romantic, family, and more). Our two sessions were held at NdCAD (Network for the Development of Children of African Descent) and North Regional Library. These two informative and dynamic sessions had the goal of bringing youth voice into the Standing Up for Children Healing conference. Thank you too all who were a part of the Youth Summit 2016!
What was said about the conference?
Being a person who is not from Minnesota what were some of your take aways from the conference and addressing the youth?  Do you feel you reached your goals when addressing the youth, and would you recommend anything for next year?
 
The conference were absolutely great. The theme of healing and the historical context was excellent. This year, I was partnered up with Mr. Jones, which I thought was terrific.The youth responded with great questions, and were very engaged. I had the goal of being able to reach the youth, to which I feel I did. I'd like to see having a youth component with an invitation of having a parent relationship workshop at a time that the parents can participate. Not necessarily having the parents in the same session with the youth, but allowing the parents their own sessions.
-Andrea G. Mosby, Consultant, Youth Summit Speaker
As Director of the Children's Cabinet directly responsible for setting policies in Minnesota, tell us the advantage of your voice being shared with 200 attendees and what was the strongest message you expressed? 
 
As someone who speaks and works with the governor, legislator, and stakeholders around the state around early childhood and really trying to build a vision for children and families for Minnesota, I think it was helpful for me to be there for my purposes to hear what everyone else was having to say and also to be able to engage with folks in between the presentation. I wanted to share what my perspective is and how the governor’s office has really approached building early childhood systems in Minnesota and I think that is important for people to understand so that we can all work together to build that greater vision that we all share. 
The strongest message that I was trying to express is that those of us who are really passionate about young children, for us, we know that starting as early as possible is really critical. We know that getting beyond just early childhood education for the 360 degree child, the three dimensional child, which includes the child’s health, stability, mental health, care taking, those types of things are critical and it is really about supporting families. So I was really there to advocate for us to approach our work with a what is called the two generational approach that supports children and their parents or caregivers at the same time very intentionally. The second piece for me is thinking about a systems building approach which means instead of thinking about our support systems as a whole bunch of free standing resources that families are able to welcome to access à la carte if they know how to find it and have the time to access all of these other things. We ought to really be thinking how to build and maximize the conductivity and continuity across the system in a way that makes it as easy as possible for families to navigate.
-Melvin Carter Ill, Director of the Children's Cabinet
Was the panel well equipped to address the African American community?
 I think so, it was very incredible for me to hear from some of the other panelist, and even to hear the questions from the group. I don’t know that I would necessarily distinguish the panel from the greater conversation. I thought the conversation very much meaningfully touched upon some of the challenges around supporting African American Babies and African American families uniquely. Fantastic coalition and fantastic event. There was whole lot of buzz around the event and continued conversations that the event created.
-Melvin Carter Ill, Director of the Children's Cabinet
Being part of a historically African American daycare in Minnesota did you find the conference to be advantageous to you in anyway? If so, how did the conference benefit you? 


For an early care and education provider, of a historical organization operating in north MPLS. since 1969, I was delighted that the focus on the conference was on our African American Babies and our Black Men. In my 30 plus years in the field, this has never been. The benefits I received from the conference were:
 
*Hearing and learning more on brain development and the impact of trauma, to our children. 

 *Being exposed to the presentation of the work and writings of Dr. Shawn Ginwright. (I have since purchased two of his books that I read through- devoured! I found his insights and instructive strategies for change, profound).

 *Networking: I met a couple of new professionals- fine human beings! (One from out of state)- that I was fortunate to eat and talk with, over the course of the conference. I know that we will remain in touch through work pathways.

 *The closing keynote by Sam Simmons, offered both professional knowledge and honorably personal insights on the impacts of trauma, as they relate to Black Men. 

*Messages such as "Black is not a risk factor", resounds in my mind and heart, particularly with the horrific violence that has taken place here in the Twin Cities and in Dallas Texas. All of this reaching national attention. The message has meanings for two audiences; perhaps in two different ways.

*The information on incarcerated MN parents, I was stunned by. I left feeling that we all must do work to destruct this system and be certain that the children are not caught in the middle nor set-up for a next cycle of "shackled slavery,"
 
I was hope filled to hear announced that NBCDI, is working to establish a chapter in MN. This will be a great thing  for one, working parallel to the QRIS system in MN; as many licensed providers are moving forward with formal credential expectations of their respective early childhood teaching staffs. Tobeka G. Green, provided a great opening keynote on the second day of the conference. Needless to say attending the Community Healing conference, "Standing up for the Children", was both inspiring and motivating for me at many depths. May we all be about carrying out the work, in our better informed manner.
-Phyllis Sloan, La Creche early Childhood Centers, Inc.
You are the Executive Director of an agency which address the well being of families, advocacy about safety and Adverse Childhood experiences, did the conference shed any new light on community relationships, and if so what?

Nedra Robinson did an excellent presentation on the 15 key factors impacting the healthy development of babies. It is a message that every adult should be exposed to in the hopes of changing the future for all our children.  We need more “living room conversations” about family and raising children. So much of what Dr. Ginwright talked about really resonated with the values and beliefs of Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. What really struck me though is his distinctions surrounding PTSD and how there is nothing post about trauma. That trauma is persistent and not a “disorder” – it is an accurate response to a situation. His concept of  PTSE being persistent trauma stress environment really connected with me, along with the need for all of us to look at the practices we use to foster hope and healing. There were so many incredible lessons over the course of the conference; and two of them in particular stuck with me.
-Shelley Jacobson, Minnesota Communities Caring for Children

 
What is to come with the African American Babies Coalition?
The African American Babies Coalition and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) have partnered to produce 10 short educational videos about key factors impacting babies’ brain development and parent child interactions through age seven. The videos show that income, age, family composition or neighborhood does not guarantee good parenting. In fact, child rearing, both rewarding and one of the most difficult jobs we face as caregivers, is based on relationships, awareness of developmental milestones, and observing healthy behaviors decreasing stress. These are two of the videos! Follow us on Facebook to view the rest during our campaign! Show them and spread them to other community members!
According to research, when it comes to love and attention you can’t spoil babies! The #brainsarebuilt campaign, shares the groundwork for early childhood brain development and lifelong learning. Co-produced with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT).
Babies who grow up without toxic stress have more opportunities to be happy and energized. Co-produced with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). Share, like, and comment #brainsarebuilt!
Service Provider Trainings this fall!

We are looking for service providers (case managers, social workers, family specialists, health care providers, educators , etc.) who are working with African American clientele to join us in one, two, or all of our three 2-hour workshops in order to gain knowledge, skills, and practices about how to work with African Americans in a culturally-appropriate manner.

Click Here for More Information and Registration!
Community Conversation Host Trainings!
 
A FREE two-day training where participants learn about and discuss various topics, including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES’s), Historical Trauma, Facilitating, and more! Following the training, participants who complete two community conversations of their own will receive a monetary stipend. Community Conversation Hosts are African Americans, ages 17 years and older, who are passionate about the healthy development of our babies. We are looking for excited individuals to join our upcoming cohort of Conversation Hosts!

More information to come!
 
Me and My Baby-Building Bags
  As a follow up to the Community Healing: Standing Up for the Children conference we are connecting with you now to make sure you have the latest update on our new learning kit created specifically for African American families.  The “Me and My Baby-Building Bag” is now featured on the Let’s Talk Kids website:  www.letstalkkids.net  
 
The African American Babies Coalition has been a key partner in the development of this product which also includes ABCs for GROWN UPS:  Affirmations for Well-being; the cards you may have seen at our conference table.  
 
We are looking forward to getting the word out in our community about this offering because we believe it is one way to help our families “restructure the sense of hope and possibility” and “bring awareness to the science of nurturing a healthy brain”.
 
Please take a look at the Let’s Talk Kids website and consider how you might be an Ambassador of Well-being in your community.  Also, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions, comments and/or ideas about this initiative.
 
Special Feature
Charles Logan, Elementary Student
community strengths on child rearing
Click the links above to visit our websites and to follow us on Facebook!
As always, we appreciate any constructive feedback that will help in continued strengthening of our collaborative and community efforts. Our goal is to demonstrate healthy behavior to
as many community members as possible, and we would love for you to be a part of the work we do! Please contact us with thoughts, suggestions, or questions that would contribute to the fulfillment of our mission!
Mailing Address
920 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Sameerah Bilal-Roby, 
Director of the African American Babies Coalition
sameerah@africanamericanbabies.org
1-800-550-7195
 
The African American Babies Coalition is in partnership with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. This program was made possible with assistance from grants from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Saint Paul Foundation, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
 






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