FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

Ultimately, the goal is to replace Slavery with Freedom, control with autonomy, regulation with self-determination. Investments in liberatory approaches to communities and families are essential to ending the assault on the Black family and to creating environments and institutions (not systems) that nurture Black families’ power, autonomy, and self- determination. The “system” will fight hard to maintain the status quo of destruction. We have to keep fighting for principles and philosophies that privilege Freedom over Fear, Truth over Lies, and Connection over separation. And Love overall. Conclusion American law, politics, and economics are still animated by the principles and logics of the American slave system: “The law of slavery has not been forgotten by the law of segregation; the law of segregation has not been forgotten by the law of neosegregation. The law guarding the gates of slavery, segregation, and neosegregation has not forgotten its origin; it remembers its father and its grandfather before that. It knows what master it serves; it knows what color to count.” 40 As to Black people, the United States family policing system operates as an iteration of slave law. Vigilance, disruption, and creativity are necessary to abolish these laws and to hold these destructive impulses at bay. Current structures, funding, and practices perpetuate child-taking and family destruction, making the so-called child welfare system a “badge and incident” of the American slave state. 41 It is way past time that America acknowledges and compensates for “the massive crime of slavery, and all that it has wrought.” 42 Dismantling and ultimately abolishing the Black child and family-destroying CPS/family policing/family regulation/foster system is an urgent and necessary (but not sufficient) step toward ending this devastation, preventing further violence to Black families, and establishing the right relations between the United States government and Black Americans. Simultaneously, resources must be made readily available, easily accessible, and sustainable to ensure stable, safe, and supportive environments for

all U.S. children, and especially Black children, upon whom America heaps its cruelties most disproportionately and ruthlessly. First and foremost, agents of government and private entities should explicitly acknowledge their responsibility for destroying the lives and futures of generations of Black children and families, with numbers in the millions. Along with reparations to make amends for the wrongs done and implementation of concrete actions to secure for the generations ahead a future free from policing, regulation, and destruction of Black family life. Black children must be free to live loving, joyful, creative, and productive lives. Focusing on evolving and ever-vigilant responsiveness to conditions of injustice can help avoid recurrence. Ending the attacks on Black families and affirmatively enacting mechanisms to affirmatively and intentionally preserve family integrity and autonomy of Black people will have the salutary effect of increasing justice for all. We end, as we began, with the eloquent words of Dr. Tricia Stephens: “Black parents love their children. They loved them during the weeping years of enslavement when wealthy White people stole their rights to raise their children, and they love them now. . . This centuries-long practice of the intentional destruction of Black families resonates in the ongoing fight Black parents have against stereotypes that delegitimize their right and dignity to raise their own children. . . . Black parents love their children too and have a right to their families without system regulation.” 43 ______________ 40 Maria Grahn-Farley, The Master Norm, 53 DEPAUL L. REV. 1215, 1227 (2004) 41 Movement for Family Power; Roberts, Torn Apart; Children’s Rights Inc. Laura Briggs, TAKING CHILDREN:AHISTORY OF AMERICAN TERROR(2020), etc. 42 Angela Olivia Burton & Angeline Montauban, Toward Community Control of Child Welfare Funding: Repeal the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and Delink Child Protection from Family Well-Being , 11 Columbia Journal of Race and Law 639, 680 (2022) (quoting ,DOROTHY E. ROBERTS, SHATTERED BONDS: THE COLOR OF CHILD WELFARE (2002) at 271. 43 Tricia Stephens, Black Parents Love Their Children Too: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in the American Child Welfare System .

44 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022

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