What does a “trauma-informed community” mean? The recent work of FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) Pittsburgh in the Hill District tries to define it. A quote from a community focus group offers a definition: “A shared experience of suffering that characterizes the personal experiences of many in the community. Chronic unemployment, crime, drugs, homelessness, hunger, abuse, poverty and, most profoundly, brokenness and radical isolation have all created a culture informed first and foremost by trauma. For this reason, trauma is the foundation upon which the community worldview is laid.” There is a tremendous amount of multigenerational, complex trauma that many African American communities have experienced over the years. It is important to explore how this history must inform the ways in which we develop our communities.
Through the work of FOCUS Pittsburgh, in partnership with Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) has emerged as a response to this challenge.