In Sacramento County, African American children are dying at twice the rate of their peers. Over the past three years, a community-based campaign has been working to reduce these tragic deaths, and now a team of three UC Davis researchers are joining the effort. Dr. Maisha Winn, UC Davis Chancellor’s Leadership Professor and Co-Director of the School of Education’s Transformative Justice in Education Center (TJE), and Dr. Lawrence Winn, TJE co-director, have secured a $125,000 contract from Sierra Health Foundation to evaluate the Black Child Legacy Campaign (BCLC), an initiative of Sacramento’s Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths (RACCD). They will be joined by Dr. Vajra Watson, Director of Research and Policy for Equity at UC Davis.
Created with extensive community input in 2015, the Black Child Legacy Campaign aims to shrink the number of African American child deaths in Sacramento County through coordinated systems of support, advocacy and policy efforts, structures of accountability, and other key strategies. The campaign has been put into place within the seven Sacramento neighborhoods that contain the most disproportionate number of African American child deaths in the county: Arden-Arcade, Del Paso Heights/North Sacramento, Fruitridge/Stockton Boulevard, Meadowview, North Highlands/Foothill Farms, Oak Park, and Valley Hi. These fatalities can be traced back to infant sleep-related issues, perinatal conditions, child abuse and neglect, and third-party homicides.
Through this contract, the TJE co-directors and the Office of Research and Policy for Equity director will now lead an evaluation of how BCLC’s key strategies are being implemented within the seven target communities. Keeping BCLC’s transformative, community-based principles in mind, the UC Davis team will identify how to improve upon current strategies as well as provide input regarding how to best shape policy decisions at the local level. The expected final report will also include resources and insight to share with other jurisdictions looking to install similar justice-focused initiatives to help African American children survive and thrive.