Along with a nationwide coalition, including the Osborne Association, We Got Us Now, Arizona State University’s Center for Child Wellbeing, FWD.us and many other local and national organizations, we are proud to be a part of See Us, Support Us – a month-long nationwide campaign led by the Osborne Association to reduce stigma and increase support for children of people who are currently incarcerated. This month we recognize children separated from their incarcerated parents, who are often invisible to those around them. When they are seen, they often face harmful stereotypes and narratives, stigmatizing them and driving their needs further into the shadows. It’s up to all of us to stand with and support these children, treat them with respect and dignity, and work to serve their needs.
This year’s theme is educational success from early childhood through college. Educators are often the first line of defense when a child is experiencing emotional challenges. With the unique challenges that educators face teaching children during the pandemic, the need for resources to support children in the classroom who have incarcerated parents is especially urgent.
There are many ways that you can get involved. Join the campaign and post on your social media accounts to raise awareness. Join New Orleans Pelicans player Zylan Cheatham and donate to the Empathy Through Literacy project, an initiative that aims to get books that feature a child impacted by incarceration as the main character into libraries across Arizona. Send a teacher the “5 Tips for Educators” to see and support children of incarcerated parents in their own classrooms. Support the call for free phone and video calls so that families don’t go broke keeping parents in touch with their children. Help distribute Sesame Street’s free materials for young children with incarcerated parents through their website or app store. Donate to the Literacy Link projects offered by the University of Wisconsin-Extension offices to help children with incarcerated parents get needed books and educational materials.
Together we can make a difference!