What: “Hidden Colors” with Dr. Booker T. Coleman, presented by Mahmood Abdullah and Southside Market

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Eastdale Village Community

Admission: $10 donation requested


Children living with trauma and treated poorly are more susceptible to cancer, mental illness, obesity and heart disease, but there is hope if they can find someone to provide a safe, nurturing environment, Kristen Rector said Thursday.

Rector, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, spoke to nearly 200 people attending the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth conference at Second Missionary Baptist Church.

The conference was in coordination with the Unity Group's weeklong list of activities to celebrate the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Unity Group started the children's conference decades ago to discuss disproportionate minority confinement.

"I'm glad that we've emerged and now we talk about the root causes of some of those issues," said Quenston Coleman, past chairman of the M.L. King Jr. Week celebration.

The celebration continues at 6 p.m. today at Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church.

Booker T. Coleman, also known as Kaba Hiawatha Kamene, is featured in the documentary "Hidden Colors" and will be present while it is shown. The documentary film series was made to explain and describe the marginalizing of African Americans in America and the world. Mahmood Abdullah of the Southside Market will host the event. A $10 donation is requested.

Rector cited information from an Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, one of the largest inquiries coordinated to determine associations between childhood trauma and a person's health later in life.

The study is a collaboration between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

Businesses and community members should be concerned and get involved to stop abuse, Rector said, because it leads to a loss of talent and productivity in the workplace and poor social outcomes.

"Childhood trauma is a public health issue," she said Thursday.

Compared to people with an ACE [Adverse Childhood Experiences] score of 0, people with an ACE score of 4 or higher are seven times more likely to be alcoholic; six times more likely to have sex by age 15; two times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer; and four times more likely to have emphysema, according to a slide Rector showed during her presentation.

ACE scores increase after instances such as neglect, divorce or abuse suffered as a child.

Rosalyn Leavell-Rice, regional program administrator for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, hosted the event.

"I'm hoping to make our community more aware of [adverse experiences] and to see what we can do as a community to come up with strategies to prevent it from happening," she said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yput or 423-757-6431.