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Commentary — Building Strong Children and Restoring Strong Adults: How One California Community Is Empowering Change []


By Gina Warren, Marilyn Woods, Damon "Fade" Dorrough, and Sarah Marikos, The Sacramento Observer, April 21 2023

There is a transformation taking place in an area of Sacramento once notorious for gang violence, sex trafficking, and near decimation brought on by the crack and opioid epidemics.

Despite the cultural taboos around mental health that still exist in many communities, this transformation is healing intergenerational trauma and changing trajectories – by getting to the root.

There’s plenty of evidence documenting how our early experiences shape our health and behavior. Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, such as abuse, neglect, and growing up in a household with violence, incarceration or problematic substance use, can lead to prolonged activation of the body’s stress response, a condition known as the toxic stress response, which affects both mental and physical health throughout the lifetime – even making changes to our DNA that ripple across generations.

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About Fifty years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting some members of a 'Street Gang' known for it's 'Civic Engagement' (accompanying Pediatric and Internal Medicine Resident Physicians-who made 'house calls in the Southeast Bronx [an area known for it's high percentage of Heroin use-where 'Doctor's Bags' might hold an appeal to Heroin users...the gang also helped run the Detox program at Lincoln Hospital....

'Intergenerational Trauma' was a subject addressed in the Iroquois constitution- reportedly in 1095 A.D. (after 55 years of 'editing/reaching consensus')-noted in 1988 U.S. Congressional Resolution #331- noting the role of the Iroquois constitution in the development of our U.S. Constitution. Rather than having a 'Supreme Court', their constitution called for 'generational review'.

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