As the public health and economic devastation of COVID-19 has ravaged the State of Ohio and the nation, it has laid bare and, yet again, confirmed that the public systems that are supposed to protect the most vulnerable among us are often undermining these same children and families. Before the pandemic, we knew that disparities existed in child health and education. In Ohio, there are 546,000 infants and toddlers growing up in Ohio yearly however, Black children and families are more likely to experience poverty, to be suspended and expelled from Kindergarten, and experience adverse childhood experiences and trauma while being less likely to access quality child care and be ready for kindergarten than their white peers. Groundwork Ohio’s report titled Drafting a New Blueprint for Success: Reflections on Ohio Early Childhood Race & Rural Equity is a follow-up to the 2018 report that took a deep dive into race and rural equity in Ohio. This report revisits equity across the state and provides recommendations to address early childhood race and rural equity.
Recognizing that racism is a public health crisis is a step toward addressing these inequities and closing the existing gaps. Resolutions have been introduced on the state (SCR 14 & HCR 31) and federal (S. Res 655 & H. Res 1069) level to declare racism as a public health crisis. Join us in urging our state and federal legislators to adopt these resolutions as we come together as individuals and communities across the state to act urgently to dismantle structural racism in the systems, agencies, and institutions that serve Ohio’s children and families of color. Simply fill in your name and address and a message will automatically be sent to your elected officials. By joining us you can make a big difference in closing the gaps between children in poverty and their higher-income peers.