Friday, January 13, 2023: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Jeanna Campbell, MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Kevin Tan, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim, PhD, University of Southern California
Healing Illinois is a state-funded project that aims to promote a more just and equitable society through racial healing. Racial healing is the process of recognizing and challenging one's internalized messages about their own race and others. The project occurred between November 2020 to March 2021. Contemporary events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the killing of George Floyd by police, Black Lives Matter Movement, the 2020 Presidential Elections, and the Capitol Insurrection have undoubtedly impacted the socioemotional well-being of adults and young people alike. Led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work and Illinois Extension, 17 focus group discussions (n=88) were conducted with K-12 educators, parents, and students to understand the impact of current social events on socioemotional well-being. Focus groups were organized by racial and ethnic identity, which provided a unique opportunity to contrast themes based on group composition: majority White; Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) only; and mixed with both White and BIPOC participants. This symposium features three papers from Healing Illinois investigating the socioemotional well-being of our participants and its implications for racial healing as a mechanism for the prevention of poor socioemotional outcomes. The first paper focuses on parents who participated in Healing Illinois. We seek to understand the role of racial/ethnic identity on parents' perspective of contemporary events, youth identity, and socioemotional well-being. Qualitative semantic thematic analysis demonstrated that contemporary events have been experienced differently based on racial identity. Further, racial identity was related to socioemotional well-being. A pertinent finding is that parents often felt unprepared and overwhelmed to discuss race and politics with their children. Findings with recommendations to support the role of parents will be discussed. The second paper focuses on the impact of the January 6, 2021 Capitol Insurrection on youth socioemotional well-being. While Healing Illinois was being implemented, the Insurrection occurred and there was a natural split of the data: eight focus groups were conducted with youth, parents, and educators prior to the Insurrection, and nine were conducted post-Insurrection. Latent themes were identified and compared for frequency across the time points. Results suggest that the Insurrection negatively influence the socioemotional well-being of youth. Themes and the distribution of change will be presented. The last paper explores the notion of racial healing as prevention for poor socioemotional well-being among educators, parents, and youth. In this study, we explore the relationships between racial trauma, stress, and socioemotional well-being in order to understand how racial healing in schools can prevent poor health outcomes. Results indicate the use of racial healing as a model to reduce mental, emotional, and behavioral disparities and promote better socioemotional outcomes. Together the papers provide perspective about the differential impact of contemporary events on educators, youths, and parents based on racial composition. Preventive approaches to foster overall socioemotional well-being will be discussed. The promise of racial healing based on findings from our focus groups will be highlighted. Finally, applications from the broader Healing Illinois project to the K-12 schools and classrooms will be discussed.
* noted as presenting author
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