FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

supportive, community-building, and family- strengthening activities. In 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued a congressionally commissioned report discussing “its assessment of the most effective means for reducing child poverty in half in the next 10 years.” The NASEM report recommended dramatically expanding material support to families, “either directly, by providing income transfers, or indirectly, by providing food, housing, or medical care.” The NASEM report found that a $3,000 per child per year child allowance would produce the largest poverty reduction and concluded that other policies, such as raising the federal minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and increasing childcare, food, and housing subsidies are also essential. 37 Reflections on Investment and Support for Black Family Autonomy and Integrity Joyce: We want Freedom to use resources in our community for the purposes that they are intended without fear of having those services or the people who work in those services judging us based on false narratives that have been taught to them that they have never personally experienced, that creates fear. Control is the starting point; judgment is a tool used to legitimize their control. Surveillance is collecting information and instilling fear and terror. Information is gathered, along with judgment/false narratives about who we are and what we deserve or are entitled to. All that is used to build Systems that deny our humanity and agency and autonomy and keep us under control. Reparations should include student debt relief and a moratorium on taxes for Black people. Communities should practice mutual aid not as a response to crisis but as a way of life, supported by public funding without onerous, controlling constraints and restrictions. It’s because we are still living in a Slave society that we even have to spell out and demand that our humanity

be recognized and respected. So, we have to demand that surveillance, judgment, control, etc., be replaced with Resources—availability and accessibility of basic human necessities such as safe housing, functioning schools, the opportunity to earn a livable wage, and health care services that respect our humanity. 38 We always talk about healthcare in the sense that we have to take care of ourselves; self- care, knowing our limits, making sure we get checkups; lack of access to appropriate cultural mental health services. When we can’t use those services freely, we don’t have health. Before we have anything else, we need to be healthy, otherwise we can’t take care of anything else. One of the most important things that is withheld from us. Because we all need to be in good health. Keeping us in poor health retards our ability to exercise Freedom and Creativity, etc. It all goes back to keeping Black people in a subservient, crippled, unstable, oppressed state of being. Angela: Changing direction won’t be easy. As Professor Roberts says about years of failed reform efforts, “[W]e should expect it to be difficult to tweak a system so that it protects Black children when the system was established to oppress Black people. . . . the roots of today’s child welfare system lie in the forcible separation of enslaved families, the exploitation of Black children as apprentices to former white enslavers, and the exclusion of Black children from charitable aid. Throughout US history, the government has deployed child removal as a weapon to control Black people, as well as Indigenous, immigrant, and poor people, and to suppress their liberation struggles.” 39 ______________ 37 A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019), child-poverty-rate-could-be-cut-in-half-in-next- decade-following-proposals-in-new-expert- report#:~:text=WASHINGTON%20%E2%80%93%20 In%20light%20of%20the%20many%20costs,and%20 earnings%20among%20adults%20living%20in%20low- income%20families; see also Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), Within Our Reach: A National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities , releases-final-report-on-child-fatalities/ 38 See e.g., H.R. 40: Exploring the Path to Reparative Justice in America , hr-40-exploring-path-reparative-justice-america#) 39 Torn Apart (p. 283).

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