Confronting Racism: Helping Youth Heal from Racism-Based Trauma through Empowerment and Activism

December 1, 2021

Confronting Racism: Helping Youth Heal from Racism-Based Trauma through Empowerment and Activism

A Virtual Conversation with the Experts
Tuesday, December 7 at 11:00am

Racism can cause significant and chronic traumatic stress in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) children and youth. Racism-based trauma has been linked to psychological distress, physical health problems, depression, anxiety, and children’s ability to succeed academically and socially. 


Healing racism-based trauma is challenging because racial wounds occur within a broader sociopolitical context and on a continuing basis. Yet, and still, children and youth experiencing racism-based trauma can develop coping skills, heal, and become resilient.

Research shows that an important aspect of healing from trauma caused by racism is to engage in empowerment through resistance, as racism often causes youth to have feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, avoidance and fatigue. 


By helping youth to exercise their own agency and supporting youth to feel empowered to bring about equity, we can promote healing from racism-based trauma in youth and help give rise to the change we need as a society. 


On Tuesday, December 7 at 11:00am, join Bright Promises Foundation for a panel discussion with leading experts in the field of race-based trauma, gain understanding about how to recognize youth trauma caused by racism, and learn how you can help empower youth and support their healing.

You will have the opportunity to hear directly from representatives from Bright Promises partner organizations who are part of our recently launched Healing, Leading Changing initiative.  While many organizations are engaging in important anti-racist work right now, Bright Promises is one of the only organizations currently supporting specifically trauma-informed programs that address the impact of racism on BIPOC children and youth. Our partner organizations are innovators, who with Bright Promises support, are helping to transform how we recognize and respond to the trauma caused by racism in children and youth.

During this event you will learn:

Featuring Expert Panelists:

Moderated by: Dr. Colleen Cicchetti Ph.D., Executive Director of Center for Childhood Resilience and Clinical Psychologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

This virtual event is free to attend and open to all.
Can't attend at the scheduled time? Register to receive a link to the event recording.

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Colleen Cicchetti Ph.D. (moderator) is the Executive Director of Center for Childhood Resilience, a Clinical Psychologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and an Associate Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Cicchetti has over 30 years of experience in hospital, outpatient and community settings. She is passionate about and committed to addressing health disparities and decreasing exposure to violence and trauma for children and families through innovative, healing-centered public health strategies and multidisciplinary collaboration. Throughout her career, Dr. Cicchetti has focused on connecting children with the mental health services they need; equipping providers with effective programming; and identifying new evidence-based interventions that address the emerging mental health needs of children and youth. 

Tony Alvarado-Rivera (panelist) is a multi-issue community organizer working and living within an anti-oppression and harm reduction framework. With over 15 years of youth work experience, Tony worked with the groundbreaking About Face Youth Theatre, using art as a tool for activism. Before working at Chicago Freedom School, Alvarado-Rivera completed their tenure at Broadway Youth Center as the Mentor Program Coordinator where they developed and implemented a mentorship program for LGBTQ youth. Since joining the staff of Chicago Freedom School in 2012, they are able to use popular education and liberatory pedagogy to build and support the next generation of freedom fighters.

Carol J. Sharp (panelist) joined Girls Inc. of Chicago as the inaugural Director of Programs in 2017. As a Chicago native, and having worked with thousands of students & families from across nearly every neighborhood in Chicago, Carol is deeply committed to providing access to opportunities that empowers our future leaders to achieve, beyond the scope of their community influences. Carol comes to Girls Inc. with over 10 years of meaningful nonprofit experience, developing, implementing and evolving, leadership development and college & career programs. 

Nadiah Alyafai (panelist) is a Youth Organizer involved with the Arab American Action Network youth organizing program for 6 years. Starting off as just an individual in the youth program then working her way towards becoming a youth leader, she is now a staff member of the youth organizing program. Taking the knowledge that she was once given, she works to empower others in her community on resistance and resilience.