A collage of photographs of African American families and children, all smiling for the camera.

Family Voices United to End Racism Against CYSHCN and Their Families (FamU)

About FamU

This project came out of a spontaneous collective mourning as a network after the horrific murder of George Floyd and countless other Black lives in 2020. Family Voices recognized the importance of not just putting out a statement of solidarity but also devoting funding and time to support and educate our network of family organizations. The result, Families Voices United to End Racism Against Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) and their Families, aka FamU was born. Recognizing the loftiness of the goal, Family Voices chose to take the first steps, guided by the 3 objectives below, and focus on building change within our own network of family-led organizations first.

Build Competence by learning about the history of race in the U.S. and racial disparities in healthcare.

Foster Connectedness by creating opportunities to connect and engage in raw, honest, uncomfortable conversations necessary to bring about change.

Encourage confidence to act with the creation of materials and guidance to equip network members to start, lead and sustain conversations to dismantle racism in healthcare of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN).

Team FamU with input and feedback from our Advisory Group, put together the website as a toolkit for you to begin to do the important work of dismantling racism, being more culturally competent as an organization and building and developing meaningful engagement with the families that you serve. It is by no means exhaustive, rather it was designed as a starting point. This toolkit offers a variety of documents, multi-media articles, videos and so many resources that we’ve curated for you. Enjoy the journey!

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What’s New?

Youth Leadership

Youth Leadership

Youth Leadership is generally defined as the practice of teens and young adults exercising the authority over themselves. Further elaborated by Learning to Give as a “theory of youth development as a process that prepares young people to navigate adolescence and...

First Enslaved Africans

First Enslaved Africans

On August 20, 1619, “20 and odd” Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrive in the British colony of Virginia and are then bought by English colonists. The arrival of the enslaved Africans in the New World marks a beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in...

The Impact of Systemic Racism

Disability and the African American Experience

Health inequities, inequalities, and disparities against Black people dates back to 1619 when enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the Americas. They were chained, locked up and force fed in crowded barrels of slave ships with no regard for hygiene or any basic human necessity. On the mainland they were forced to live in squalor, the men constantly beaten, women and girls raped by slave masters and plantation managers. Enslaved people’s bodies were exploited to produce offspring that were bought and sold in a practice known as chattel slavery. The exploitation continued well after emancipation with Black bodies being used for “medical education” and/or “research” as highlighted in the infamous United States Public Health Services Syphilis Study otherwise known as the Tuskegee Study of 1932. The Museum of Disability History walks us through a brief timeline from 1619 through 2003 and highlights some horrific programs and practices many that were instituted as mainstream practices and exist today as systemic racism.

Read more at museumofdisability.org

Why This Work Matters to Our Network

The Family Voices Families United to End Racism Against CYSHCN and their Families (FamU) project was developed to provide support and education to our national network of family organizations. Through the development of bi-monthly town halls, deeper dive materials, an advisory group, a website, and a leadership team to coordinate all the work, FamU provides a space for our network that builds competence, fosters connectedness, and encourages the confidence to act to dismantle racism.

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) developed a document entitled Moving Forward Together: Journey to Equity, Inclusion and Justice. It is an excellent short guide that offers 3 stages of growth: Stage one: Preparing for Change, Stage Two: Moving Forward to Together, Stage Three: Ideas into Action as well as, lessons learned and recommendations. The guide can be used in complement to this website to begin doing the work of dismantling racism.

Read more

Systemic Racism & Health Disparities

Having an awareness and understanding of what systemic racism is and how it impacts the lives of Black families is an important first step to breaking down barriers, supporting families and beginning the work of dismantling racism. While we may not solve a problem 400-years old, we each can work towards self-improvement and community engagement.

Read more

Artwork, combining symbols for the scales of justice and doctors/the medical profession

FamU Timeline

2020
May, 2020
Racial Injustice Unveiled
June, 2020
Family Voices Talk
June, 2020
Families United Is Born (FamU)
July, 2020
FamU Advisory Group

The Road Map

Understanding

Black Culture


Understanding Black Culture and history to dismantle racism

Tools to

Get You Started


Tools to help you get started and implement in YOUR STATE

FamU Youth

Leadership


Engaging youth
Inviting & championing youth engagement

Learn More

Explore


Resources to Explore More

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Our Vision

With families at the center of health care, all children and youth reach their full potential and health disparities are eliminated.

Our Mission

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families—including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity—in order to improve health care services and policies for children.

In honor of