The challenges faced by Black children and their families are unique and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) works to address those strengths and needs through a lens of cultural competence. The efforts of NBCDI to ensure a successful future for Black children through wellness, literacy, and family engagement align with the mission of Child Care Resource Center. At the 51st annual NBCDI conference in Washington D.C., several CCRC staff participated in meaningful discussions about racial discrimination, economic mobility, and uplifting communities of color.
“What was most impactful for me was experiencing firsthand the paradigm shift from deficit narratives of the African diaspora to one filled with reimagining the future based on a foundation of Black Joy and Excellence starting with Black children and youth,” said CCRC Government Relations Director LaWanda Wesley.
NBCDI works primarily with Black children through age 8 and their families. This connection is forged through partnerships with community-based organizations, like CCRC, foundations, corporations, school systems, elected officials, government, child care, Head Start and many other public and private organizations.
“As the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, it is my responsibility to constantly educate myself on sociopolitical issues related to inequities,” shared CCRC DEI Director Sarah Toutant. “I learned the importance of creating community among my colleagues, who are also leading diversity, equity and inclusion work in their respective divisions. Together, we can make an even bigger impact on our community and better address their needs.”
This convening of DEI leaders and advocates for racially minoritized children from across the country inspired CCRC Government Relations Manager Patrick MacFarlane. “Seeing Black child development leaders from across the country and realizing that we at CCRC have such a huge impact on Black children and families in our service area, statewide and nationally,” he said. “That CCRC is a true leader in our field gives me a lot of confidence and gratification in the work we do.”
The conference included a gala at the National African American Museum of History and Culture, where conference participants had the opportunity to network and further discussions that began at the conference.
“To sit amongst other Black leaders in a museum that highlights the history of my people was by far the biggest honor I’ve ever had,” Sarah said. “Attending the NBCDI conference equipped me with more inclusive tools and strategies, introduced me to additional networks of child advocates, and showed me that CCRC’s DEI work is headed in the right direction as we aim to be exemplars for DEI work in the early education field and beyond.”