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Celebrating National Black Child Development Week: Empowering the Future Generations

By: Ainslee Johnson-Brown, Manager of Policy & Programs, Black Child Development Institute Ohio

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National Black Child Development Week is an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about the specific challenges faced by Black children and the disproportionate impact of known systematic failures on the ability of Black children to develop into thriving, healthy adults. The future of our children determines the future of our society. We all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the prospects of that future are as bright as possible.

Working in coalition with child advocates across the state, it is important to note that the problems that negatively impact Black children in Ohio affect all children in the state. For example, the risk of lead exposure during a child’s critical years of development haunts parents and caregivers. Our state’s aging housing supply and high blood lead detection thresholds have caused Ohio’s children to suffer blood lead levels that double the national average. Test results for Black children show blood lead levels 50 percent higher than other races—regardless of family income. By the math, reducing and eliminating the risk of lead exposure for Black children makes Ohio safer for all children. This week allows us to examine policies, programs, and societal structures to ensure that Black children receive the support they need to thrive.

At the National Black Child Development Institute and Black Child Development Institute Ohio, we advocate for the well-being of the Whole Black Child. Nurturing the emotional and mental health of Black children is as essential for their overall development as protecting and promoting physical health. National Black Child Development Week highlights the importance of equitable access to quality education, culturally relevant curricula, and supportive environments that nurture their talents and aspirations. It calls for us to address disparities in resources, funding, and teacher training, ultimately working towards a more inclusive education system. I challenge readers to initiate open conversations about mental health, create safe spaces for expression, and promote resilience-building strategies among Black children in your purview.

Let this week serve as a catalyst for collaboration—a call to action to address the challenges Black children face and advocate for equitable access to education, health, and overall well-being. By empowering future generations, we can ensure that every Black child has the opportunity to thrive, contribute to society, and shape a brighter future for all. Individuals, communities, educational institutions, and policymakers can and should work toward dismantling systemic barriers that hinder Black children's progress. Through partnerships, mentorship programs, and support networks, we can create a united front committed to nurturing the potential of Black children and ensuring their equal access to opportunities.


Black Child Development Institute Ohio welcomes all partners focused on improving the outcomes for Black children throughout the state. Please contact us at


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