Exposure to trauma harms the developmental growth of young people. When left unaddressed, this exposure increases the likelihood that our youth will become victims or perpetrators of violence. With more than half of Trenton's youth impacted, addressing trauma must be a critical component of any crime reduction strategy. Trauma is also an issue of equity. It disproportionately affects Trenton's Black communities, which bear the brunt of a long history of systemic racism, housing segregation, and economic discrimination. Today's history is reflected in high rates of poverty, violence, and associated trauma in Black and Brown communities.
As Councilman, I will support a focused expansion of trauma-responsive practices that starts in our schools and expands to all agencies and organizations that come in contact with our youth. Massachusetts provides a blueprint for a path forward, where all schools were required to develop action plans for creating safe and supportive environments.
Trauma Response Teams: Respond to Incidents As They Occur
One of the most untold stories in our City's struggle with crime is the trauma our residents, especially our young people, experience and internalize as they routinely see violence occur around them-this should not be the "new normal" in Trenton. Under my leadership, a trauma team will respond to each shooting and homicide to triage gun violence survivors, their families, and their communities.
These trauma response teams will consist of mental health professionals, social workers, community-based organizations, local clergy, local mediators, and victim advocates. They will provide immediate trauma support, coordinate community vigils and safety walks, and connect victims with city resources. Police will share information with these professionals to ensure those impacted receive continuing support and constant communication where appropriate. These teams will be staffed by the Health Department employees and assigned to work in each of the City's four wards.
Promote Trauma-Responsive Services Early
Exposure to trauma is linked to several of the leading causes of death and criminal activity, violence, and reduced academic achievement. However, it doesn't have to be. Early intervention is key to mitigating the impact of trauma. As Councilman, I will promote trauma-responsive mental health services and intervention efforts in our City. This can range from mental health and trauma awareness campaigns across Trenton to identifying and coordinating the work of agencies, institutions, and organizations that offer mental health and trauma-responsive services to improve access to care.