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Today’s trial made history. How we help kids make sense of it will shape the future.

The Derek Chauvin trial took place over nearly four weeks. For many, these four weeks represented 400 years that black and brown people have been on trial in America. For whom skin color has shaped outcomes in everything from the justice system to day-to-day life.

If you have scrolled social media, listened to the radio, watched television, or read a newspaper, you have witnessed not only this historic trial but the continuous traumatic stress of violence—police shootings and mass shootings with multiple victims, including schoolchildren.

This moment is traumatic, raw, and real. And our children are watching.

More than half of children in America have cell phones shortly after their 10th birthday. Our children not only see what we show them, but what is shared by others and what they search on their own. Often, they are processing and interpreting unfathomable things that even adults struggle with.

Our children will be asking questions that none of us have the answers to. But how we process and talk about this moment will shape the experiences of youth, their perception of the world, and how they will guide it in the future.

It leads us to answer the questions: What are we going to do? And more importantly, who are we going to be?

Together, we can lead unapologetically.
Together, we can love unconditionally.
And together, we can plant shade trees that we will never sit under.

History is made in the present. We hold a collective responsibility to intentionally shape a better America for and with the next generation. For Detroit children. For black and brown children. For all children.

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