We grieve the loss of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy shot dead by a Chicago police officer on March 29, 2021. Adam’s death comes at a time when our nation is collectively dealing with the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, as well as the fatal shooting earlier this week of Daunte Wright, another Black man killed by a police officer near Minneapolis.
Since the shooting, there have been various reports of who Adam was, what happened that night, and why he was killed. What we do know is that Adam was a young teenager—a child. And he was a son, brother, grandson, friend, and neighbor. He lived in Little Village, a vibrant community filled with love that we are proud to work in every day. Adam is the latest victim of community systems that perpetuate extreme police force, gun violence, broken relationships between law enforcement and communities of color, and a devaluing of Black and Brown lives.
As our community continues to grapple with his tragic death in the coming days and learns more about the facts, Adam’s death will continue to have devastating effects on many young children and families traumatized by fear, grief, violence, and widespread unrest.
Adam’s death reinforces that we will not change the trajectory of young Black and Brown children in Chicago and across the nation without transforming current systems. That begins with ensuring Black and Brown children have equitable access to quality care and education from birth.
Erikson Institute believes that children deserve to feel safe and live in communities that support their health and emotional well-being. We cannot delay any longer. We must make intentional investments in communities and deeply examine the distribution of resources for families so that Black and Brown children have equitable opportunities to excel in school, work, and life.
Erikson’s Center for Children and Families is available to provide mental health counseling for children birth through 8, including through our clinic, Centro para Niños y Familias, located in Little Village and other locations. Bi-lingual therapists are available, and all families are welcome regardless of ability to pay. Please contact us at 312-709-0508 or by sending us a message for more information.
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