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See Us Support Us 2020

Boca Raton, FL, October 1, 2020 – Today, KidsMates announces its partnership with the Osborne Association for their sixth annual See Us, Support Us (SUSU) month. During October, SUSU highlights the needs and experiences of the millions of children in this country who experience a parent’s incarceration.


Joshua Martoma, a Co-Founder of KidsMates, and a SUSU 2020 Youth Ambassador says, "When my father first went to prison, I was devastated. Not only did I lose one of the most important figures in my life, but also I was exposed to painful shame and stigma. Fast forward to the present. As a co-founder of KidsMates and as a member of the first-ever Youth SUSU Team, I have the unique privilege of sharing my voice on behalf of the millions of children who face the harsh realities of having a parent in prison. Today marks the beginning of 2020’s See Us, Support Us month. I’m so proud to help shine a light on the silent American epidemic of parental incarceration."


Read the complete press release below.




See Us, Support Us 2020 Increases

Supports for Children with Incarcerated Parents this October:

6th Annual Year Highlights Tools for Educators


Thursday, October 1, 2020:


Today, the Osborne Association and our local, state, and national partners launch the sixth

annual See Us, Support Us (SUSU) month to highlight the needs and experiences of the

millions of children in this country who experience a parent’s incarceration. Guided by a national

advisory board and a youth team whose members have experienced parental incarceration,

SUSU 2020 focuses on supporting children’s educational success and wellbeing from

early childhood through college. COVID-19 presents unique challenges for the one in 14

children who experience a parent’s incarceration. Many students are navigating COVID,

returning to school or learning, all while missing their parent and worrying about them. SUSU

2020 offers tools and resources to educators—and other family-serving professionals—to

support these children and young people. Throughout October, SUSU will hold free virtual

events, share resources and tools on the SUSU website for school staff, and host an Art

Contest and other events for young people.


See Us, Support Us is a unique national initiative coordinated by the Osborne Association’s

New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents. While programs and advocacy on

behalf of children whose parents are incarcerated have increased over the past decade, this

experience remains largely hidden from public view and consideration. Children may experience

isolation, fear, confusion, and other challenging emotions and are often judged for their parent’s

choices. SUSU aims to counter this by raising awareness, spotlighting children’s strengths and

talents, and providing resources and tools to promote positive outcomes. The evidence is clear

that when supported, children of incarcerated parents thrive and succeed.


SUSU 2020 is a collaborative of nine organizations that serve or advocate on behalf of children

with incarcerated parents. These include the National Resource Center for Children and

Families of the Incarcerated, Bay Area Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership,

Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative, Daughters Beyond Incarceration,

POPS the Club, Arizona State University Center for Child Well-Being, KidsMates, and We Got

Us Now.


"See Us, Support Us (SUSU) uniquely uplifts the voices and talents of children whose parents

are incarcerated, while also highlighting how difficult this experience can be, and the policy and

practice changes that are needed to support successful outcomes for children. SUSU provides

invaluable resources for all those who work with or care for children, with a special and timely

focus this year on tools for educators in the time of COVID, underscoring the importance of both

a trauma-informed and race equity lens. We're honored to partner with young people and

national leaders in launching SUSU 2020."


-- NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents,

The Osborne Association


"When my father first went to prison, I was devastated. Not only did I lose one of the most

important figures in my life, but also I was exposed to painful shame and stigma. Fast forward to

the present. As a co-founder of KidsMates and as a member of the first-ever Youth SUSU

Team, I have the unique privilege of sharing my voice on behalf of the millions of children who

face the harsh realities of having a parent in prison. Today marks the beginning of 2020’s See

Us, Support Us month. I’m so proud to help shine a light on the silent American epidemic of

parental incarceration. "


– Joshua Martoma, Co-Founder of KidsMates, and SUSU 2020 Youth

Ambassador


“Children with incarcerated parents have largely been an invisible population, despite a national

awareness of mass incarceration. See Us, Support Us (SUSU) raises awareness of their unique

experiences and advocates for supporting their wellness and success. In a time of a global

pandemic, when children everywhere are facing educational setbacks and challenges, See Us,

Support Us has a special focus on educational tools to care for children with incarcerated

parents. The Walls to Bridges Book Project is proud to support SUSU 2020.”


– Alyssa Tamboura, Adult child of a formerly incarcerated parent and

Founding Director of the Walls to Bridges Book Project


“As an educator who is also directly impacted by the toll of having a loved one incarcerated, I

can tell you first-hand that having a supportive and safe space in the place where I spend the

bulk of my day — school — is critical. Many of my students are experiencing parental

incarceration and they shouldn’t have to share for the school to respond. As a system, we are

well-aware of the mass incarceration rates in our State and in our nation. We are in a societal

epidemic. Teachers, administrators and school support staff are the first lines of defense since

we spend so much time in close contact with our students.. We all need to be trained in how to best meet the needs of children who have parents in prison. They should not have to bear the

brunt of that weight alone. I implore all school programs to participate in See Us, Support Us

2020 and establish meaningful ways to help our students living with the harsh reality of parental

incarceration not only survive, but thrive."


-- Vivett Dukes, NYC DOE Educator, and Councilmember and

Northeast Delegate, National Parents Union


“Navigating a complex world without the aid of parent, especially with the onset of remote

learning and other changes from our current reality, is no easy feat for a child; yet so many

children in our city and state with a parent incarcerated face this challenge each day as they

work for their own educational success and wellbeing," said NY State Assemblyman David I.

Weprin, Assembly Corrections Committee Chair. "It is important that we do all we can to

listen to and highlight the voices and lives of children experiencing the effects of having a parent

who’s incarcerated. I am glad to support See Us, Support Us 2020, and look forward to

partnering with the multitude of individuals who are part of this movement to create change so

we can make things better for these young people"


“See Us, Support Us (SUSU), the Osborne Association’s national initiative, has provided

increasing support, care, and the tools needed for our youth to help overcome the emotional

strain and trauma left by experiencing a parent's incarceration. Osborne’s and SUSU’s efforts

and resources, dedicated to addressing children's well-being, educational needs, and achieving

academic success, have profoundly changed lives for the better. I am proud to partner with such

an initiative that raises awareness of our children's unique and challenging experiences and

have amplified their often-overlooked voices. We must continue to advocate for those who have

been left behind, help decrease the stigma that comes with parental incarceration, and create

spaces that will safeguard a thriving, trusting, and positive environment.”


-- NY State Senator Luis Sepulveda, Chair of the Senate Crime, Crime Victims &

Corrections Committee


“The criminal justice system disproportionately targets black and brown communities and by

extension, affects their children, families and loved ones; when one person is incarcerated, the

entire community suffers” said NY State Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. “When I

envision a transformed criminal justice system, I envision the prioritization of rehabilitation, the

preservation of familial ties, and the uncompromised dignity of all. We must stop treating

populations that interact with the criminal justice system as second-class citizens and ensure

that personal bias does not interfere with the health and well-being of incarcerated individuals or


their families. I urge my colleagues to pass the Visiting Bus Bill (A.7016A) to alleviate financial

burdens associated with loved ones who are incarcerated and to pass the Elder Parole Bill

(A.9040), which would allow individuals over the age of 55 to live out the rest of their lives

alongside their children and loved ones. See Us, Support Us 2020 helps us to reimagine the

criminal justice system.moving away from criminalization and ensuring that we are focusing on

justice: justice for those in prison, justice for their families, justice for their communities!”

“When people are incarcerated, many assume their former lives will simply vanish. But for the

kids they leave behind, it doesn’t work that way: They are still their parents. Mass incarceration

is a national issue whose impact is far-reaching, as evidenced by the 2.7 million American

children who have a parent behind bars. SUSU is critical as it demands that the most vulnerable

are visible and supported. The choice to focus on education is spot on. We must reimagine our

school systems in a way that they're free of zero-tolerance discipline policies and on-campus

police. Schools should be affirming spaces where children of incarcerated parents can be

supported and free from stigma. We need a system that dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline

and introduces equity and opportunity.”


-- Sylvia A. Harvey, Journalist and Author of The

Shadow System: Mass Incarceration and the American Family


“WE GOT US NOW is proud to participate in See Us, Support Us (SUSU) for the 3rd year as a

national partner and amplify the voices, talents and policies that work to ensure that directly

impacted children and young adults thrive amidst the trauma, stigma and shame of losing a

parent to incarceration. Every October, this month-long event spotlights the invaluable

resources that have proven to support our often marginalized population. SUSU 2020 will

ensure that the collective efforts of our community and allies are magnified and uplifted.

- Ebony Underwood, Founder/CEO, WE GOT US NOW

“Recently, at a BAYCIPP Virtual Summit our keynote speaker Lateefah Simon reminded me

why See Us, Support Us month is so critical and still necessary. She said, ‘Children of

incarcerated parents are soldiers in a war that they did not start.’ I would say that they are not

recognized for their brilliance, strength, resilience or diversity. We celebrate and honor these

soldiers that keep fighting not just on their behalf but for others that will come after them.


#BAYCIPP #SUSU” -- Bay Area Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership


"For the last five years, See Us, Support Us (SUSU) has amplified the important, but too often

ignored voices of children with incarcerated parents. At POPS the Club, we know how much

that matters! This year's focus on education is especially important to all of us at POPS because

we know how important it is for our educators to see us and support us. We are honored to be a

partner in this initiative celebrating strength, wisdom and resilience of children with incarcerated

parents." - Board, staff, grads and teens of POPS the Club

“Since 2015 NRCCFI has joined with advocates from around the country, guided by youth and

adult leaders from NYCIP/Osborne to celebrate the ways in which children with incarcerated

parents are all at once, like all children, like some children who share their experience and like

no one but themselves. The annual See Us, Support Us initiative has been the most effective

way of bringing the themes and the variations – the resilience and the pain more clearly into

focus by centering the voices of the children and families impacted by incarceration in defining

the issues and designing solutions. We urge EVERYONE to take part in SUSU 2020 this year,

as we highlight the significant role of schools in this important work.”


-- Ann Adalist-Estrin, National Resource Center on Children and

Families of the Incarcerated at Rutgers University Camden


"On any given day in the U.S., 1 in 28 children experience parental incarceration. How many of

these children are seen and supported in your school? See Us, Support Us (SUSU) 2020

provides an opportunity for educators to support, acknowledge, uplift and empower some of

their most resilient students. It has been a privilege to continue to do God's work all while

working alongside youth, national partners and national leaders in the field."


-- Shannon Ellis, SUSU 2020 National Planning Committee member



One in 28 children in the U.S. has an incarcerated parent on any given day—more than 105,000 children in New York State have a parent in jail or prison. The racial disparities inherent in the current criminal justice system extend to children: 1 in 9 African-American children, 1 in 28 LatinX children, and 1 in 57 white children have a parent who is incarcerated. Maintaining family ties during incarceration decreases recidivism, and supports family reunification and children’s well-being.

The Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) convenes more than 60 agencies and community and faith-based partners throughout the state to advance
policies and practices that support children of incarcerated parents and their families. NYCIP raises awareness about this often overlooked population of children and elevates their strong, wise, and
resilient voices.

SOURCE: Tanya Krupat, Director, Osborne Center for Justice Across Generations


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