In 2014, I knew very little about trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences. But I did know that I myself had experienced childhood trauma and was still navigating the negative effects from it. For me, it had manifested in addictions, depression, urges to self-harm, and risky behaviors in my adolescence.
Becoming a mother in 2012, I knew I had to become focused on my parenting intentions so that my child and future children would not experience the same disconnection from self and others that I had experienced. I feared about how I would parent my toddler daughter who was becoming that much more vocal and independent.
I had been a preschool teacher, graduated from university with a degree in Child Development, read all the parenting books, understood attachment and the brain. But I needed more.
In 2014, I was accepted into training to become a Trauma-Informed Nonviolent Parenting coach by a parenting revolutionary and elder named Ruth Beaglehole, whose work I had been following for some time. Ruth guided our cohort through a deep dive into what the ACES study meant for not only ourselves, but all our descendants. We learned how preventing ACES was related to the paradigm of nonviolence and how to embody it through “power-with” dynamics in our families.
On the first day, Ruth exclaimed, “This is NOT about parenting, this is a MOVEMENT for children’s rights!” From then on, I was fired up about ending childhood trauma for all children, and especially wanted to ensure Latinx parents had this information.
Understanding ACES, and later teaching Latinx parents about ACES, led me to a place of increased compassion for myself and for everyone else that I encountered. It also allowed me to extend empathy towards my parents, something that felt challenging until I did it in community with others also wanting to end generational cycles of trauma and violence. It remains a powerful force and my biggest motivator to be of service.
I just want mi gente to heal.