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Breaking the Silence on the Challenges Facing Black Youth in America: A Call to Action for the Bereavement Support Field

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About the Course:

The deaths of black youth fill the headlines, from Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown to violence among inner-city Chicago youth. What are the challenges faced by black youth in America? How do these challenges impact the lives of our black youth and our communities? What role can the bereavement support field play in providing support and social justice? This panel discussion will examine these questions and provide ideas for how we can all help support black youth in our communities.

This course is based on the recorded webinar, Breaking the Silence on the Challenges Facing Black Youth in America: A Call to Action for the Bereavement Support Field created by Alesia K. Alexander Layne, MSW, LCSW, Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT, and Annette R. March-Grier in 0.


National Alliance for Grieving Children

Publication Date:


Course Material Authors

Alesia K. Alexander Layne, MSW, LCSW

Alesia K. Alexander Layne, MSW, LCSW, is the founder and Executive Director of Project KARMA, Inc. Project KARMA Inc. is a 501 ©3 non-profit organization created to support at-risk young people aged 5-18, facing loss and possible gang involvement. The work of Project KARMA Inc. seeks to empower and celebrate the potential of young people in a positive and affirming way that promotes self-esteem, validates the impact of loss on social development, and offers an alternative to gang involvement and activity. Moved by the dedicated and unswerving care provided to her family by the local hospice in her hometown during the illness and subsequent death of her father when she was 24, Ms. Alexander Layne’s work over the last decade has focused on at-risk children and teens in the school setting, specifically with children and teens that have lost a loved one to death. Her educational background includes a B.A. degree in Political Science from Hampton University in Hampton Virginia, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida State University. Mrs. Alexander Layne is the author of four resources for grieving children and advocates. Her first book Sunflowers & Rainbows for Tia: Saying Goodbye to Daddy (1999) reflects the African American grief experience as seen through the eyes of a little girl. Her second book, Un Mural Para Mamita/A Mural for Mamita (2001), is the bi-lingual story of a little girl that wants to find a way to honor the memory of her grandmother with her community. The third is Dream Clouds (2011), the engaging story of Adam, a young boy living with the loss of his mother, and their connection through poetry. The fourth book is Tapestries: A Creative & Inclusive Approach to Grief Support for Youth & Communities (2013). A licensed clinical social worker in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, she is the former Coordinator of The Caring Tree Program of Big Bend Hospice, Inc. in Tallahassee, FL., and has served as consultant to grief and loss centers across the nation. She is a former member of the board of directors for The National Alliance for Grieving Children.

Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT

Tashel C. Bordere, PhD, CT, is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and State Extension Specialist in Youth Development at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has developed and taught courses in Death, Dying, and Bereavement, Black Families, Adolescent Development, and Parent-Child Interaction. She is the past editor of the The Forum: quarterly publication of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). She has served on the ADEC Board of Directors, as past Chair of the People of Color/Multicultural Committee, and is a member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children, Society for Research in Child Development, and the National Council on Family Relations. Dr. Bordere is a speaker, youth and family social justice advocate, researcher, and author of works relating to diversity and resilience through loss and grief, including Adolescents and Homicide and “The remedy is NOT working”: Seeking socially just and culturally conscientious practices in bereavement, a co-authored work, in Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society. She is a Certified Thanatologist (Death, Dying, and Grief Education). Dr. Bordere has done numerous consultations, trainings, presentations, and workshops across the country relating to cultural conscientious practice and effective programming with African American youth and families. She provided grief support and community education through Hospice Compassus and also developed the SHED Grief Tools Education Program in Missouri Extension to support grieving children and teens. Dr. Bordere was recently featured on NPR-KCFUR – Teens and Grief, in a Hospice Foundation of America’s Live National Webcast – Living with Grief: Helping Adolescents Cope with Loss, Open to Hope Cable Show, Fox 34 Radio News. Her research focuses on adolescent adjustment to death and loss, with emphasis on assaultive violence, homicidal death, loss and grief among African American youth, coping strategies, New Orleans death rituals, and culturally appropriate practices in research and work with marginalized youth and families.

Annette R. March-Grier

Annette R. March-Grier, a Top Ten CNN Hero, 2014, is President and Co-Founder of Roberta’s House, a globally recognized nonprofit grief support center based in Baltimore, MD. Roberta’s House provides grief education, peer support groups, and grief camps to children, adults, and families in underserved communities in Maryland. After recognizing the disparity of unresolved grief and loss in urban communities and its impact, Annette Co-Founded Roberta’s House along with the March family to address the needs of unresolved grief in 2008. The grief center was named after the matriarch of the March family, the late Julia Roberta March (2006); who was co-founder with her husband William C. March of the March family business — March Funeral Homes (one of the largest family owned and operated African American funeral service providers). With minimal financial resources, Roberta’s House was birthed from a community outreach service “A Time of Sharing”, a bereavement program established by the March family. Through her long standing commitment to help the bereaved, Annette managed the grief program for more than 25 years. The demonstrated need for grief services were profound; therefore, Annette, committed to healing the bereaved, successfully developed, and implemented the grief programs offered at Roberta’s House. The growth and expansion of these programs continue with the recent launch of the first Homicide Survivor Advocacy Program in Baltimore City, established in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and the Baltimore City Police Homicide Division. Since its founding, more than 2300 children and adults have benefited from the free programs at Roberta’s House. Staffed by licensed professionals, and over 300 volunteers, Annette personally conducts most trainings. Roberta’s House offers more than seven different specialized programs. The grief center also provides educational workshops, volunteer trainings, internships for mental health professionals and community support programs. Annette is also the successor and Vice President of her family’s nationally recognized funeral home business. Raised with a strong family value system, Annette was instilled with a sense of compassion for the bereaved and a heart for working with the communities served. By profession, Annette a registered nurse, is also licensed as a mortician, following the family tradition. Annette, married with three children, is the youngest of four siblings who maintain the family’s 60 year history of excellence in serving families and carrying out the March legacy. Annette graduated from the University Of Delaware School Of Nursing in 1982. She then worked for Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Baltimore. In 1985, she returned to the family business, attained a mortuary science degree from the before becoming a licensed mortician. A pioneer in the bereavement care industry, Annette a recipient of numerous awards and achievements, most recently was selected by CNN, the world leader in news, as one of the top ten CNN heroes, 2014 for changing the world.

Course Creator

Tyler Gibson

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about bereavement support for black youth in America. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify the socio-ecological challenges faced by black youth in America

  2. Discuss how grief impacts the lives of black youth

  3. Describe strategies for providing grief support to black youth

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Course Retired
Course Number 102125
1.5 credit hour
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  • Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee: No Longer Available
4.50 out of 5
2 members have taken this course