Achieving Racial Equity in Massachusetts: The Dynamic Duo Is on a Mission!


Today, I am joined by Audrey Smolkin and Thula Sibanda. Audrey is the Director of Child and Family Policy at the UMass Medical School. She is responsible for identifying, developing, overseeing the management of new programs, research, and evidence-based policy initiatives all related to children and families. And as part of her job, she is partnering with organizations and individuals from throughout the state to help improve services. Her current focus is on trauma, particularly racial trauma, and the long term negative impacts on the trauma of youth. 

Also joining me is Thula Sibanda. She is the coordinator of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Massachusetts. Thula’s focus is on the oversight and implementation of the JDAI initiative in Massachusetts. It seeks to improve or reimagine a juvenile justice system that is anti-racist and developmentally appropriate and ensures that the right youth is in the right place for the right reasons. 

In this episode, we unveil the magic of this dynamic duo of Audrey and Thula as they embark on an incredible mission to provide racial equity training to providers, families, community leaders throughout the entire state of Massachusetts. 

What You’ll Learn

  • What is racial trauma and the long term negative impacts on the trauma of youth.
  • Racial equity programs and training available to providers, families, community leaders across the entire state of Massachusetts. 
  • Tips on how you can take part in ending racism.
  • And much more!

Favorite Quote (38:51

“Find out what your why is. And you hold on to that for dear life because that will get you through whatever challenges you face, whatever struggles you face.”

Thula Sibanda 

For More Information: 

Audrey Smolkin, MPP

Director,Child and Family Policy, Instructor, Dept. of Pediatrics, UMass Medical School

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Scott Bryant-Comstock

About the author, Scott

Hello, I’m Scott Bryant-Comstock, CEO and founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network. For the past 40 years, my journey as a mental health advocate has traveled from volunteering at a suicide and crisis center, professional roles as a therapist in an outpatient clinic, in-home family therapist, state mental health official, Board Chair for a county mental health program, and national reviewer of children’s mental health systems reform efforts. As the founder of the Children’s Mental Health Network (2009), I lead the Network’s efforts to grow a national online forum to exchange ideas on how to improve children’s mental health research, policy, and practice.

Two podcasts for you to listen to!
I encourage you to listen to the Optimistic Advocate podcast to learn about amazing advocates who are committed to improving the human condition.

In addition, I encourage you to listen to the Kundalini Chronicles podcast to learn more about my awakening and the practical tips for self improvement that I share on each episode of the podcast. Always a bit of poetry, and inspiring homework for you, as we move together on this beautiful journey of creating harmony with the universe.

Remember to stay optimistic and listen to the universe. It’s speaking through you, I promise.

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