After 5 years of promoting ACEs Science through a variety of indirect means, in January 2020 I launched #ACEs Canada.
I always wanted to be direct about what was important to me, but many people discouraged me by telling me I couldn't talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences and their impact on us as individuals and societies.
Finding allies at ACEs Connection and across the world convinced me otherwise. Many people do want to talk about and address ACEs in our individual and collective lives. Providing a central place for Canadians to meet and connect seemed a natural step.
#ACEs Canada enables us to gather as a community of allies interested in advancing the knowledge of ACEs Science and connecting with international allies which validates our meaningful participation in a global movement.
One of the issues with ACEs getting traction in Canada has been its USA origins. I've heard numerous times over the years that we need Canadian data to be able to use the science. And yet we won't fund the research, even though we have a pre-existing cohort of over 300,000 Canadians who have already registered as subjects for longitudinal health research. All we would have to do would be to ask those 300k the ACEs questions and correlate the new data with the health data we already have on them to create the largest ACEs study findings in the world. I'm still working on getting this idea accepted.
Not being a researcher or academic myself continues to create barriers for influence. That's why I build community - to create influence through grassroots, mass participation. When we are numerous enough, we have the possibility of being perceived as powerful enough that the few with the purse strings are willing to prioritize our calls and fund the research they need to move the dial on policy change.
That's my goal of course - for each of us to understand the individual and collective impact of the way humans have raised our children through the generations - stemming from our pejorative image of children as inferior and therefore necessarily subordinate to adults. The results being as Alice Miller has said, the murder of the souls of the children, who when they become adults perpetuate the cycle because it's now their turn to be superior. Meanwhile our disrespect for the autonomy, individuality, agency, vulnerability of our babies and young permits us to abuse, neglect, violate, exploit, sideline them in preference for our more valued adult interests - making and hoarding money and wielding power. And having had those adverse experiences as children, we suffer as adults to change the cycle for future generations. Hence my work, and yours.
I truly believe that as Maya Angelou said, "When we know better, we do better."
I talk #ACEs because I interpret the details as encompassing all the terms otherwise used - child abuse, child neglect, child maltreatment, CSA. #ACEs provide the measurable, quantifiable data correlations between early life experiences and adult physical, mental and social health outcomes.
Don't get me wrong, although I know it's individuals who deal with the effects of our experiences, ACEs are not personal. They are societal, and therefore must be addressed through social transformation.
That's #WhyITalkACEs in the public realm. I want everyone to know about #ACEs and their potential impact on our individual and collective lives. Ultimately I want us to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences so all human children can grow up safe, secure, belonging, and loved so we can all achieve our ultimate potential.
Since I'm Canadian, I have taken the initiative to raise public awareness of #ACEs in Canada. I focus on getting the message of ACEs out to a broad audience, I share resources and build community to ultimately drive social change.
You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @ACEsCanada2020
I've recently launched a website which I will continue to expand: https://www.acescanada2020.org/
In 2018, I also started and co-host the Canadian ACEs and Trauma-Informed Network community here on ACEs Connection. We invite all Canadian members to join us here. The more Canadians can collaborate to create a community of Canadian ACEs Allies, the sooner our goal of supporting all Canadians in achieving their potential will become a reality.
I encourage you to reach out, join the movement, either in Canada or wherever you are.
Leaving the world a safe place for children to grow up is my legacy project. It's good to be on this mission with you.