Day 12:

Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. ACEs are defined as a toxic source of stress with the potential to disrupt a child’s ability to learn, relate, grow, play, communicate, and problem-solve and can include things like physical and emotional abuse, neglect, caregiver mental illness, and household violence. The more ACEs a child experiences, the more likely he or she is to suffer from things like heart disease and diabetes, poor academic achievement, and substance abuse later in life. Racism is now recognized as an ACE.

Disturbingly, Black and Hispanic children and youth in almost all regions of the United States are more likely to experience ACEs than their white and Asian peers. To some extent, these racial disparities reflect the lasting effects of inequitable policies, practices, and social norms. Discriminatory housing and employment policies, bias in law enforcement and sentencing decisions, and immigration policies have concentrated disadvantage among Black and Hispanic children, in particular, and leave them disproportionately vulnerable to traumatic experiences like ACEs.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


Assess your ACEs score to see how childhood trauma may be impacting your life. Then, assess your resilience score and explore resources on how to support yourself and others by building resilience.


Watch this TEDx Talk The Human Need for Belonging by Amelia Franck Meyer to understand more about the critical role connection and relationship has in our lives.


View this info-graphic that explains how ACEs affect our lives and society and summarizes findings from a landmark Kaiser study that looks at the link between ACEs and long-term well-being.


See Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris on the TED stage explain how the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. Reflect on your own coping skills during the most difficult time in your life experience, and any privilege that may have helped you cope. Consider how different the outcome may have been without that privilege.


Capture what you learned by journaling your thoughts and feelings about today’s content. Click below to download a free journal page for today.


CONVERSATION PIECE: Art Addressing Equity

Artist: Choreographed by Ma Cong
Screaming Silence
Date of piece: 
World Premiere by Ballet Des Moines, Fall of 2019

“Haunted by imagery of families being torn apart and loved ones being lost, Screaming Silence explores the integral relationships and connections we form as humans. The music and choreography express the desperation of separation between loved ones with a haunting beauty, reminding us of the pain and joy we share through love.”

Jami Milne
Ballet Des Moines


Thank you to the members of BRAVO Greater Des Moines for curating the Equity Challenge Gallery, a collection of art in various media that speaks to the issues of equity in our society.