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For immediate release: February 16, 2021
Contact: Sandra Wellhausen
(619) 507-2077

Organizations Come Together to Help End Racial Disparities in Childhood

Racial Disparities and Implicit Bias Have Far-Reaching Health and Behavioral Consequences 

San Diego, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2021) -The County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, Behavioral Health Services,  San Diego Youth Services, the San Diego Early Childhood Mental Health Leaders Collaborative and the San Diego Center for Children are proud to present Birth of Brilliance on Feb. 25, 2021. The virtual, one-day conference will tackle topics including racial disparity and implicit bias in mental health care, social services, developmental services, early childhood education and medical care.

“We recognize that the work and these conversations specific to early childhood are long overdue,” said Bell Middle School Principal Precious Jackson-Hubbard and co-organizer of Birth of Brilliance. “We need to work collectively to ensure our actions reflect our belief that our children are brilliant at birth. We are also inspired by Frederick Douglass, who believed it is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken adults.”

Racial disparities have long-term consequences for children, and affect overall health, behavior and the opportunity to live a full and productive life. The focus of this year’s inaugural event is to create racial equity in early childhood through intentional education, dialogue and collective mobilization.

“We can’t afford to overlook how racial disparity and implicit bias is affecting our children,” said Steven Jellá, Associate Executive Director at SDYS and co-organizer of Birth of Brilliance. “We are seeing a disproportionate number of children getting in trouble at school, being separated from their families and suffering long-term health consequences.”

Birth of Brilliance will bring together critical voices to facilitate courageous conversations about childhood and discrimination that are long-overdue. The event features Dr. Jessica Pryce, Assistant Professor at Florida State University and Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, and Akiea Gross, founder of Woke Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education Assembly’s 2020 Social Justice Award Recipient.

“Now is the time to create lasting and meaningful change for all San Diegans,” said Melanie Morones, program manager Our Safe Place and co-organizer of Birth of Brilliance, SDYS. “Our children and future generations depend on it.”

To learn more about Birth of Brilliance, visit

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About San Diego Youth Services:

San Diego Youth Services is a nonprofit organization serving more than 17,000 youth annually who are homeless, abused or at-risk in their community. SDYS has helped stabilize the lives of more than 797,000 youth living in San Diego County since its founding in 1970. SDYS is working to end homelessness, prevent delinquency and school failure, break the cycle of child abuse and neglect and promote mental health and addiction recovery.

Founded in 1887, the San Diego Center for Children is the oldest children’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the region accredited by The Joint Commission for its excellence in quality of care. The Center provides evidence-based therapeutic, educational, foster care and transition age services to children and families struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Today, with 8 program sites and community-based services within hundreds of homes and schools across San Diego County, the Center empowers over 1,000 people every day.