It’s time to Break Barriers.
We want to thank our amazing keynote speaker, moderator and expert panelists for an incredible dialogue on centering ALL families in solutions to improve family well-being. Breaking Barriers. Centering Families. Transforming Systems––it’s not just the title of our event, it is a blueprint for creating a more just, equitable and impactful system that allows families to thrive. Though the event is over, the work is just beginning––for us, partners and supporters––and we need your help to see it through.
Take a look through the highlights below to see what you missed and how you can join us – and keep scrolling to see our amazing event sponsors and the full interview with Eric S. Smith and the full afternoon panelist session.
Hear from Vice Chairman, BMO Harris Bank Eric S. Smith on BMO’s longstanding support as our corporate sponsor and their work to directly invest in our communities. “My colleagues and I at BMO Harris desire to do banking in a way that allows us to have a greater impact on the communities that we serve … and tear down the barriers that have existed far too long.”
Breaking Barriers moderator Jamilah Lemieux kicked off the afternoon panel session by speaking from her own experiences on tools families need and the importance of appreciating all family structures. “All families are valid. We must come to expand our collective understanding of family and our collective commitment to supporting families of all shapes and sizes.”
Berto Aguayo joined in on the panel session with his thoughts on youth voices, community organizing, and violence prevention. “Once you give a young person an opportunity, they will excel at it. They just need the right mentorship and guidance.”
The Honorable Zina Cruse followed up with her beliefs on rethinking what justice looks like and the rehabilitation and tools that are needed as part of the justice process. “Justice is not only about punishment. We cannot overlook redemption and reparations, that’s what justice is.”
Dawnielle Jeffrey, Children’s Home & Aid Vice President, Early Childhood Services, gave insight into why our early childhood programs focus on the entire family structure and the importance of ensuring our families are part of the conversation. “We need to embrace the fact that families are the experts.”
Jen Agosti, Founder and President of JRA Consulting, explains how reform won’t be enough. “We can’t just move pieces around within the child welfare system and expect that to change things.”