“One in 5 Americans have had a parent incarcerated, and this month we recognize the children separated from their incarcerated parents.”
For many of us, the fall season is a marker of family time. As the weather cooled down, we’d usually gather around each other and enjoy a number of seasonal holiday traditions. Fall will look a little different this year, but as we continue to adapt to a more distant reality, we can’t forget the families who have been forced to keep their distance, even before the pandemic began.
This October, FWD.us is proud to be a part of See Us, Support Us – a month-long nationwide campaign led by the Osborne Association to reduce stigma and increase support for children of people who are currently incarcerated. One in 5 Americans have had a parent incarcerated, and this month we recognize the children separated from their incarcerated parents. Though the impacts of the incarceration crisis are so widely felt, children of incarcerated parents are often invisible to those around them. When they are seen, they often face harmful stereotypes and narratives, stigmatizing them and driving their needs further into the shadows. It’s up to all of us to stand with and support these children, treat them with respect and dignity, and work to serve their needs.
We join a strong nationwide coalition, including the Osborne Association, We Got Us Now, Arizona State University’s Center for Child Wellbeing, and many other local and national organizations, as we focus on this year’s theme: educational success from early childhood through college. Educators are often the first line of defense when a child is experiencing emotional challenges. With the unique challenges that educators face teaching children during the pandemic, the need for resources to support children in the classroom who have incarcerated parents is especially urgent.
There are several ways to get involved. Join the campaign and post on your social media accounts to raise awareness. Join New Orleans Pelicans player Zylan Cheatham and donate to the Empathy Through Literacy project, an initiative that aims to get books that feature a child impacted by incarceration as the main character into libraries across Arizona. Send a teacher the “5 Tips for Educators” to see and support children of incarcerated parents in their own classrooms. Support the call for free phone and video calls so that families don’t go broke keeping parents in touch with their children.