We mourn the death of George Floyd, killed by police. We mourn the death of Ahmaud Arbery, killed by prejudicial Whites for false suspicion of criminal activity while jogging through his own neighborhood. We mourn the death of Breonna Taylor, killed by police in her own home. These cases amplify the reality that Blacks continue to be targeted across all sectors of our society for harassment, torture, mass incarceration and death due to explicit and implicit racism built into systems and mindsets.
We are saddened and appalled by these murders, their families’ loss and their communities’ heartbreak. We are devastated that America yet again faces crises and grief from actions rooted in hatred and prejudice.
But we are not dissuaded or deterred. The mission of the National Prevention Science Coalition is to transform knowledge into action to help children, youth and families live healthy, happy and productive lives and to improve the well-being of all Americans. While our business is translating the science, our core values are humanity, dignity and equality. These values require humility and respect for wise counsel, not just from scientists but from the voices of our children and our communities, and an enduring focus on the overwhelming evidence that promoting positive development is the path to equal opportunity.
Those core values also include an openness to hard truths. And what has been laid bare in these tragedies is that our collective social structures are an assault on our values. Today’s systems impede healthy development, promote retribution over nurture, and do not meet its promise of equal justice under the law. Partisan politics cannibalizes enduring truth rather than raising it up.
We urge our members, our allies and all others we hope to engage to find opportunities that challenge the ill-conceived obstacles they confront every day. Do not be dissuaded by the hugeness of the problems we face or the belief that your voice is too small. Demand that your work environment, civic and business associations, and political leadership reflect and promote these core values. Demand that we invest in preventing harm.
Ask questions. Challenge the status quo. Speak out. Don’t ever give up.
John Roman and Diana Fishbein, Co-Directors
National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives