Generations of Trauma – Epigenetics

Communities of color have suffered through trauma for hundreds of years, and now science is beginning to recognize the impact that trauma has on our children, and their children.  Research in the field of epigenetics has shown that environmental factors experienced during life can affect our genes and be passed down to new generations.  Although we have spent a lot of time focusing on the social ramifications of oppression, it is important that we pay attention to the biological effects and create awareness about this topic.  That is why I am authoring Assembly Concurrent Resolution 177 (ACR 177) to raise awareness about intergenerational trauma and the role that epigenetic research plays in understanding that trauma.

As Chair for both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, I have heard how much hurt our communities have gone through.  However, when I heard testimony from Margo Robbins during a hearing on “The Status of Native American Boys and Men Living in Northern California” in Oroville on December 14th of last year I was stunned to hear that the trauma experienced by parents can affect children biologically.