By Vicki Spriggs
Chief Executive Officer of Texas CASA
Dear CASA Community,
I hope this finds you well and continuing to prioritize compassionate care for yourself, your communities, and the children and families we serve as we move into the eighth month of this challenging pandemic. Every act of care counts and keeps us connected.
Though the results of the presidential election yesterday are unknown at the time that I write this letter, I am heartened at the historic, momentous voter turnout. A healthy democracy relies on voters. I’m proud that a bill we advocated for, House Bill 123, contributes to young people’s ability to exercise their right to vote by supporting them when aging out of the foster care system in getting their identity documents such as birth certificates and drivers’ licenses free of charge. I thank all of the CASA advocates and staff who help young people in obtaining their crucial documentation.
I have some exciting opportunities to share with you all this month. When we canceled the Texas CASA Conference this year due to the pandemic, we decided to create a free, world-class, advocacy-focused learning opportunity open to all. We launched our Distinguished Speaker Series last week with a brilliant voice in child welfare, Dr. Jessica Pryce. Dr. Pryce’s talk gives powerful new insight into the trauma of child separation and proposes an innovative systems change, called blind removals, that has improved equity in other states.
I want to invite you all to register for the rest of our Distinguished Speaker Series, which presents leading lights in child welfare, systems change, race equity and creating a society in which all people can truly thrive. On Thursday, Nov. 5, we will feature Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of TrueChild, on helping improve life outcomes among youth by reconnecting race, class and gender. On Thursday, Nov. 12, we feature Kevin Campbell, an internationally known youth permanency expert, founder of the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness, and renowned inspirational speaker and storyteller. We wrap up on a high note with Professor Ibram X. Kendi on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Professor Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. In addition to the live airing, these videos will be available to watch on your own time on the event website, with the exception of Professor Kendi’s presentation which will only be available for two weeks following the live discussion.
As 2020 nears its close, I’m reflecting on the tremendous job each and every member of the CASA community is doing in continuing to find innovative ways to advocate and adapt to these unprecedented new conditions. Whether you’re new to CASA or have been serving for decades, we want to know what keeps you going and invite you to share your stories with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do, we might even tell your story on a statewide level in The CASA Voice!
Thank you for your commitment to creating a brighter, better world for children and families. I’m more proud of this community and the work we do every day.