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Dear Head Start/Early Head Start Family:

The Illinois Head Start Association (IHSA) stands with persons and communities of color.  The last few weeks and months have been profoundly challenging, and illuminated clearly the need for change in the way our country engages with and supports families and communities of color.  This injustice, as well as the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on communities of color has been a reminder that our country has a deep history of systemic racism – one that puts more value on White lives than Black or Brown lives.

The Head Start program was born during another time of extreme racial strife in this country. As we know, Head Start is strongly rooted in the belief of the importance of civil rights and equity for all people.  Head Start/Early Head Start serves children and families without regard to race, creed or ethnicity.  In the recent Childcare Exchange essential article (attached or follow this link) “Our Children, Our Workforce: Why We Must Talk About Race and Racism in Early Childhood Education,” authors Kelly Matthews and Ijumaa Jordan take a clear look at racism in ECE and suggest concrete actions we can take to support each other in our work toward justice.

“Once we start working to end harm, we can begin creating a more just world and a more vibrant ECE system. Racism hurts everyone, though it does not hurt us all equally or in the same ways. We live diminished lives when structures are in place that keeps us from thriving. When we work actively to dismantle racism, we begin to create environments that support healthy racial identity for all children. When we start dismantling racism in ECE settings, we can also begin to support the adults in the programs. By creating strong, healthy models of representation and leadership, our programs thrive.”

We know there is no easy solution to the problems we have faced for centuries. We also know that we need to devote our time, energy and resources toward making a difference.  Many have written beautiful statements or letters but these are just words.  What we need is action!  In the days and months ahead, IHSA will be laser focused on how systemic inequities impact the policies and practices intended to help children and families flourish.   IHSA will do the following actions over the next day, weeks and months.

  1. Establish an Inclusion and Diversity Task Force that will identify strategies to support Illinois Head Start/Early Head Start programs with building an inclusive and equitable local coalition that values and protects Black and Brown lives.  This includes:
    • Identifying and creating opportunities to dive deeper into subjects focused on racial equity, white privilege, and other related topics, so that our individual frames and collective voices are better informed and tuned.
    • Deepening our understanding of the lived experiences of our families and partners so that we can enhance our supports and adaptations.
    • Supporting early childhood curricula and teaching practices that are culturally responsive and strength based.
  1. Create an Implicit Bias course to be included in the IHSA Onboarding Modules and encourage all current and new staff to complete prior to the start of the upcoming school year.
  2. Provide the opportunity for virtual and onsite training on Implicit Bias.
  3.  Ensure adversity/inclusion lens to all of our professional development and leadership opportunities.

Together in this work and these commitments, we will continue the fight toward a more equitable and just society. We hope you’ll join us.  We can and must do better.

In solidarity and love,

Lauri Morrison-Frichtl


[Click HERE  for the PDF of “Our Children, Our Workforce: Why We Must Talk About Race and Racism in Early Childhood Education”  article.]


Implicit Bias resources for in-service training in programs

  • Dr. Walter Gilliam, author of a number of studies on implicit bias. Link to his recent interview on the topic in light of the death of George Floyd:


  1. The People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
  2. White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism; Robin Diangelo
  3. The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
  4. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racializing Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies; Resmaa Menakem (He is actually from Minneapolis and currently is a licensed social worker in private practice)



  1. Wellbriety- Journey to Forgiveness:
  2. Jim Crow of the North:
  3. Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo


Lauri Morrison-Frichtl

Executive Director

Illinois Head Start Association

3435 Liberty Drive

Springfield, IL  62704

PH:  217-241-3511

FAX:  217-241-3508