With attendance at capacity, the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute's 7th Biennial Trauma Conference, Addressing Trauma Across the Lifespan: A Social Justice Lens on October 3-4, 2019 was a remarkable success.
This year’s focus, “A Social Justice Lens,” was highlighted throughout the conference’s keynote address, sessions, and the featured performance. Attendees spent two days absorbing practical, yet captivating and relevant information related to the complexity of traumatic exposure to social injustices, it’s effect on marginalized people, and strategies to incorporating a social justice lens. The transformative discussions were led by an impressive mixture of industry leaders and service providers.
Day one offered 8 riveting four hour workshops which featured experts in the field of Ethno-Racial Trauma, Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Treatment of Trauma in Adults and Vets. In the morning, Dr. Hector Adams opened up dialogue on a topic often viewed as polarizing as the words themselves, systemic oppression. As real and scary of a phrase, systemic oppression and its effects sometimes leads to collective psychological distress including ethno-racial trauma. However, Dr. Adams impressed the audience with illustrated methods to help understand, identify, and address this specific trauma using the HEART (Healing Ethno And Racial Trauma) framework. David Avruch intrigued the audience with his focus on politically induced trauma in, Knowing Too Much: Clinical Responses to Social Injustice. More specifically, he points out how policies surrounding subjects such as white supremacy, neoliberal macroeconomic, and cisgender-heteropatriarchy can and has constructed trauma on individual levels. His workshop aimed to help his listeners to identify those dynamics and, irrevocably, disrupting them. The afternoon workshops on day one included a conversation on Urban Trauma: Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight with Keisha Atlee. Keisha successfully blended her knowledge and awareness of Urban Trauma on the African-American community with data and statistics dating back centuries and how it’s damaging legacy has been passed down to current times.
Day two of the conference opened with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Wizdom Powell and her captivating presentation, Speak to the Wounds: Unpacking Everyday Racial Trauma and Developing Healing-Centered Responses for Boys & Men of Color. Dr. Powell shed a much needed light on a topic often unnoticed and sometimes ignored, health biases among boys and men of color and their lack of trust in the healthcare system. The morning progressed with equally intriguing breakout workshops including two-part sessions such as Racism, Trauma and the Child Protection System: The Role of Mental Health Professionals and The Missing Ingredient: Effective Caregiving Systems for Children in Foster Care.
“Phenomenal!” “Outstanding!” “Incredible!” These were just a few words attendees used to describe what was said to be one of the highlights of the conference. The inspiring featured performance by DewMore Baltimore Youth Poetry Team blew their audience away with their artistic ability to describe their experiences and viewpoints on social injustice. Their individual and collective spoken word presentation pierced through the crowd and invited all to witness their pain, love, loss, and unity artistically.
A total of 18 interactive, imaginative and informative workshops were offered as part of three breakout sessions across the day. These breakout sessions along with the keynote and featured performance allowed attendees to walk away with additional knowledge and advocacy skills that can be used to address issues related to social justice and cultural democracy for those impacted by trauma.
We wish to thank everyone who attended, including our speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, who helped make this conference a success. Our next conference will be held October 2021. Information will be available on our website the Fall of 2020. SAVE THE DATE!
“I really enjoyed the various topics that were available to us. The Keynote Speaker and poets were Amazing. The presenters were so informed!”
“The Keynote Speaker and the poetry slam were inspirational. “
“The 12 step recovery from a trauma informed lends very helpful, I look forward to shifting my language”
“I was floored by the DewMore presenters. They were inspirational and moving.”
”Dr. Powell’s work is phenomenal! The address was inspiring and appropriately challenging. She helped me become much more aware of masculine expressions of trauma that I have sometimes overlooked or misinterpreted. I have been reading and following her work more since the conference and it is informing me importantly on both personal and professional levels. So grateful! Dr. Kathryn Newton’s presentation was eye opening, helpful, and I took away great tools to use in my practice. I would enjoy more presentations by her.”
“I was not disappointed in the conference. I did learn things but mostly it helped me with my frustration with systems and dealing with the same issues for 20 years.”
“Very informative conference with exceptional speakers.”
“This was incredibly relevant and thought out. Presenters and organizers were incredible.”
“Friday lunch entertainment was excellent! The performers were fabulous. Both the content of the poetry and the delivery were outstanding. Thank you for making it possible to experience such amazing talent.”
“I cannot imagine how I have missed all of the other conferences ... but I am grateful that I was able to attend this year. I appreciated the opportunity to network and collaborate with others.”