Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Police Pepper Spray North Carolina Teen Inside His Own Home, Mistaken for Burglar

Yet another example of a so-called concerned citizen calling the police on a Black person, because they assume they're either out-of-place, involved in some sort of criminal activity, or a combination of both. The start of this chain of events reminds me of those leading up to the August shooting of John Crawford at the Ohio Walmart store.

At some point, individuals in the larger society must also be held accountable - in addition to over-zealous law enforcement officials - for the ways in which Black males and females are profiled, and the harm that comes from their assumptions, stereotypes, etc.

I'm glad DeShawn wasn't harmed any worse than he was, although the effect of this sort of experience will stay with him for many years to come.

The parents of a Wake County high school student are outraged that police pepper-sprayed him inside their home after a neighbor mistook him for an intruder.

It happened Monday afternoon on England Avenue in Fuquay-Varina.

Ricky and Stacy Tyler have fostered 18-year-old DeShawn Currie for about a year. The Tylers, their three young children and DeShawn moved to Fuquay-Varina in July. They said while they're still getting to know their neighbors, it's hurtful someone would assume DeShawn was a burglar just for going about his normal routine of walking home after school.

"He's my baby boy just as much as my other three children are," said Stacy.

She left the side door to their home unlocked Monday for DeShawn, who was coming home early from school.

Fuquay-Varina police said when a neighbor saw DeShawn walk in; they called 911 to report a break-in. Soon, three officers were inside the house, all to DeShawn's surprise.

"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" said DeShawn. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"

DeShawn said he became angry when officers pointed out the pictures of the Tyler's three younger children on the mantle, assuming he didn't belong there. An argument ensued and DeShawn said one of the officers pepper-sprayed him in the face.

Read the full news story here.


Mass Incarceration’s Impact on Black and Latino Women & Children

This program is lengthy, but it's worth watching or listening to in the background for all of you who are interested and immersed in this work.

I especially appreciate the perspective offered by the young adults and other family members who have directly experienced the impact of having one or both parents incarcerated, or being incarcerated and unable to maintain a healthy and nurturing relationship with their children.

 April 3, 2014:

This panel examines the devastating impact the youth justice system has on black and Latino young people, as well as health care for incarcerated women, and the need for comprehensive reform.

Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Correctional Association, moderates a discussion among Hernan Carvente, Research Assistant, Vera Institute of Justice; Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, Project Director, Juvenile Justice Project, Correctional Association; Mercedes Smith, Policy Specialist, Women on the Rise Telling Her Story (WORTH); and Tamar Kraft-Stolar, Project Director, Women in Prison Project, Correctional Association.

Part of the Sackler Center series, "States of Denial: The Illegal Incarceration of Women, Children, and People of Color."

This event took place at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on March 29, 2014. Video courtesy Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.


Changing Course for African American Males Involved with Child Welfare Systems


By Oronde Miller, Frank Farrow, Judith Meltzer, Susan Notkin
at the Center for the Study of Social Policy
March, 2014


From the Center for the Study of Social Policy press release (last Friday, March 28, 2014):

The brief is designed to spur dialogue and action by examining what we know and identifying promising policy and practice strategies that can help to improve experiences and outcomes among this highly vulnerable group. “The child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health systems can, at their best, offer the pivotal opportunities that help young men move along the pathway to education, employment and healthy family relationships,” said Frank Farrow, director of CSSP. “Conversely, if these systems are not effective, they can be way stations on the cradle-to-prison pipeline that blights too many futures.” With a greater spotlight on the needs of this often misunderstood population, the paper outlines a framework for action – now and in the longer-term. Specifically it includes:

  • A summary about what is known about the situation of African American males involved with the child welfare system.
  • An outline of a more effective approach for improved outcomes for African American males.
  • Specific steps that system leaders, policymakers and funders can take now to make a difference in the outcomes for African America males in state and local child welfare systems.

Published today by CSSP as part of the broader work of the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare, the paper was produced with support from The California Endowment and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Ultimately, we want optimal outcomes for African American males who are involved with child welfare and juvenile justice systems in the same way we do for all children. And we are absolutely confident that this is achievable,” said Oronde Miller, senior associate at CSSP. “This paper offers perspective and guidance informed directly by young African American males, as well as some of the professionals who have been most effective in supporting them. We hope this work inspires the urgent course change we envision.”

Download Brief:  Changing Course for African American Males

Read the Ecard Announcement

Read the CSSP Press Release