A Pledge

by Jack P. Shonkoff

The recent, brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the broad civic unrest they have fueled, are focusing a bright light, yet again, on the deep structural inequities and systemic racism that continue to plague our country.

Is it possible that one more brutality piled on so many before it was finally too much? Is it possible that this is a turning point in understanding and addressing the ways in which racism eats away at an entire society while ravaging some far more than others? Is it possible that the past week is the beginning of real change?

We join all the voices raised in outrage and stand unequivocally with all who are experiencing injustice, racism, and inequality in the U.S. and around the world, and all who are working for change. This is a struggle that has a long history, but it is a struggle that must succeed.

Our Center’s north star is preventing the lifelong consequences of structural inequities, systemic racism, and other threats to human well-being—consequences that begin to take root in the early childhood years. We view rigorous science as a powerful tool in this mission. We also understand its history and limitations, and we remain on continuous high alert to prevent its misuse. And we know that scientific knowledge alone cannot solve these challenges.

We stand in deep solidarity with all who are fighting for a more equitable and just society. We embrace this mission by pledging to listen carefully, confront our own biases, learn from both our efforts and those of others, and continuously seek a deeper understanding of how we can add meaningful value to the struggle for a better world for all children and the adults who care for them.

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