Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The School to Prison Pipeline (hand-cuffing 5-year-olds)

This incident happened quite a while ago but I remember thinking something didn't feel quite right about the way the adult was interacting with this little girl. In my opinion there was a real lack of caring in the way this woman related to the child. She was definitely appeared to be more concerned with the property in the room than reaching out to communicate with this little girl. She wasn't going to touch the girl, except to remove her from the furniture to prevent injury, I assume. The voices of the people in the background also didn't reflect a sense of caring about the feelings of the child either, they seemed to be more concerned with documenting her bad behaviour and state of the papers in the room.

 The cop that arrived at, least spoke to the girl as a person and by name. Unfortunately he spoke to her much the way he would any other person he would be about to arrest. If you listen carefully at around 5:23 you'll hear him say "you remember me"? "I'm the one you told your mom, put handcuffs on you." Then they cuffed her right away even though she was sitting in the chair when she saw them arrive. It seems they had a history.

The police subsequently placed her in the back of a police cruiser and tried to book her. They released her to her mother after prosecuters informed them they wouldn't bring charges against a 5-year-old.

Some kind of soothing talk might have helped. 
Aw baby what's the matter?  Come sit with me and lets talk about whats bothering you. Would you like a drink of water or something?  

You decide for yourself if these folks appeared to be caring about this child in a way that someone feeling vulnerable, could relate to. I don't see her feeling safe with any of the reactions going on around her. So if she felt like she needed to fight to defend herself I'm not surprised. Nor am I surprised at the reaction of the authorities at the "audacity" of this child to try and defend herself.
This after all is one way of the ways in which the school to prison pipeline is perpetuated. We can't leave our children in situations where they are dependent on hostile circumstances for nurturing. We have to maintain a presence in the classroom and be much more involved in deciding what they learn. Schools will have to include people from the communities they serve, in ways that allow children to feel that they are really secure and cared for.

The Black Man's Burden

        By H. T. Johnson, D.D., Ph.D.

The "Black Man's Burden" was delivered at my request
to a large and appreciative audience on the closing
evening of my Nova Scotia Conference, in Halifax,
August 21, 1899. For an hour the rapt attention of the
intelligent audience, punctuated with frequent outbursts
of applause, was a sufficient testimonial to Dr. Johnson's
mastery of the subject, and the occasion. The action of
the audience in requesting its publication, after an
unanimous vote of thanks to the lecturer, bespeak more
for the value of the lecture than any word I may further add.

One of the Bishops A. M. E. Church.


The appearance of this lecture in its present form is due to
the unanimous action of the audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia,
before whom it was first delivered.
By rising, unanimous vote it was resolved that the lecturer
be tendered an expression of gratitude and approbation for his able,
instructive, and valuable address on "The Black Man's Burden."
In view of its wholesome truths and practical data,
touching the history, achievements and prospects of the
colored people of America, it was a united request that the lecture
be published and placed within the reach of thousands who could
not be present to hear it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#Ferguson . Images from Antonio French

Alderman Antonio French a vibrant young man, active in community issues, has been keeping folks abreast of events. I've never had the pleasure of meeting him but the fact that he cares greatly for his constituency is reflected in his actions. We can follow him on Twitter, Vine and if you look, maybe you can find him on other social media as well as just googling the name Antonio French.

Mary Ann McGivern on Antonio French
“Antonio and I ran together on a school board slate eight years ago. He's 32 now, and I have enormous respect for him. But he's flying by the seat of his pants, trying to create a safe and respectful space for the voice of protest.”