BALTIMORE — On Monday a group of 29 people were sworn in as the Baltimore's first Trauma-Informed Care Task Force.
They're charged with developing a citywide strategy for reducing and addressing trauma in the city.
The Trauma-Informed Care Task Force was legislated through the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, sponsored by Councilmember Zeke Cohen, who will serve as a co-chair.
The act mandated that Baltimore leaders undergo training in trauma-informed practices.
The Task Force will create a multi-year strategy to inform city policies and procedures to align with best practices of trauma-informed care.
“I am honored to swear in the inaugural Trauma-Informed Care Task Force. One of the most untold stories of the ongoing violence epidemic is the trauma our residents, especially our young people, experience and internalize on a daily basis,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Addressing trauma is critical to prioritizing the lives of Baltimoreans. I look forward to partnering with the Task Force as we center a trauma-informed approach and fundamentally transform how our City agencies engage with residents.”
“The Trauma-Informed Care Taskforce is our love letter to Baltimore. It unites physicians, clinicians, beauticians, educators, artists, students, returning citizens and healers from all walks of life. Together we have the capacity to transform our city,” said Cohen.
The Elijah Cummings Healing City Act makes Baltimore the first major city in America to comprehensively legislate trauma-informed care.
For the last six years, Baltimore has suffered over three hundred homicides. Addressing trauma is a critical component of reducing violence.
The law calls for each city agency to become trained in how to effectively respond to and treat trauma.
Following the ceremony, a number of the task force member spoke to use about what today represents to them and the communities they come from.
"I’m very excited," said Baltimore Ceasefire's Erricka Bridgeford. "This is for not only Elijah Cummings but for everyone lost to violence, everyone that Baltimore has lost violence."
"If you want to know what I bring, I bring an ear," said David Fakunle. "I bring a recognition and appreciation for story."
"I’m tired sometimes of being the checkbox of being a Latina," said Monica Guerrero Vazquez. "I’m trying to speak out loud, to be a connection, a bridge between our institutions and our systems in our community."