For years we at Alia have looked to Corey Best, Curator at Mining for Gold, for inspiration of the heart and expansion of the mind. He’s joined here by parent leader, activist, and advocate, and Executive Director of JMAC for Families, Joyce McMillan, whose thought leadership has deeply influenced our approach to system transformation.
Click and listen as these justice workers do some truth-telling to kick off day one of the 47th Black History Month. Take in these thoughts in from the conversation:
- If, in your systems change, it seems like everything has changed yet everything stayed the same, then it’s not transformed at all. It’s merely a reformatted, rebranded version of the existing system with supporting worldviews intact and unchallenged. Don’t be fooled.
- We must get rid of – that is, abolish – every part of the system that is causing harm. Joyce says, “And if that’s 99% of what exists, then so be it.”
- If a worldview you hold is in the way of removing harm, then that worldview needs to be abolished, too.
- The evidence is there: the child welfare system doesn’t keep kids safe. Then why are we okay with minimal changes? Why celebrate a reduction of state-sponsored trauma from, say, a 10 to an 8?
- Policing families in the name of child safety or “welfare” is immoral, unintelligent (defies data), hateful, and/or historically ignorant.
- Similarities between foster care and the prison system are clear and intentional: location is set for you, food is determined for you, visitation of loved ones is supervised, and terms of exit are determined by the state.
- Joyce ends with, “If foster care was a good thing, Black kids would only get in through Affirmative Action.”
The harm of the system is evident and easy to see, therefore with clarity and candor, Joyce submits that those who perpetuate the current system in any way are no allies to children and families. We must stop the destruction of families and abolish the parts of the family policing system which are harmful, dehumanizing, and which create horrific outcomes for Black families.
Alia is hard at work with systems working to build what may come after or instead of the existing system. When all or parts of the child welfare system disappear, how might we ensure the resources don’t disappear as well? How might we divest resources to communities to promote wellbeing of families?
Click here to join the conversation online.