BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Over the summer, library employees received a specific kind of training as the newest members of Baltimore’s Trauma-Informed Task Force.

“Baltimore is a city that has experienced an enormous amount of pain,” said Zeke Cohen, Councilman District 1.

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Turning trauma into healing — the goal of the city’s new Trauma-Informed Task Force.

“We are going to become a healing city,” Cohen added.

The task force was born out of the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act that passed in 2020.

“It’s a way of being. It’s not really a program. So we’re integrating this skill sets on how to interact with each other,” said William Kellibrew, Office of Youth and Trauma Services.

Soon, every city agency will receive the training but it started at the library.

“Our staff are being trained to understand the community they service better, and to be able to respond with better resources and connections,” said Heidi Daniel, CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library.

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Library staff learning skills like de-escalation and mindfulness.

“We’re perfectly situated to be able to respond in a deeper way,” said Daniel.

“We’re talking about that one-to-one interaction,”  Kellibrew added.

Baltimore City is the first city in America to legislate trauma-informed care.

“We have an opportunity here to show the nation what it means to become a healing city,” Cohen added.

The concept is a simple one. Every single person, including their pain, is a priority

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“Trauma can be dehumanizing. And it’s important for us to bring humanity back into the space,” Kellibrew said.

Annie Rose Ramos