_____ while Black.
Meet Ebony, 48, a supervisor for San Diego County's Child Welfare Services. Although she's not a native, her experiences say otherwise. Ebony has been with the county for over 15 years and has worked with youth over the past 20 years. As a mother of four, Ebony opens up about what she has observed over the last few years and how that makes her feel.
"I have seen many African American families broken apart," Ebony said. "(Children) are sent to different foster homes and not kept together. African American children are removed at a higher rate and left in the system longer than children of other races. Although the children may have viable family members, they are not sought after so that the child can go to live with them. They are also held more accountable for their actions."
Black children who are adopted in San Diego are often integrated into White or mixed-race homes. Ebony speaks to those who aren't Black but long to adopt Black children.
Ebony often worries about Black children not getting exposed to their cultural heritage because San Diego has such a small Black population. She advocates for Black children in the system by encouraging non-Black adopters to do research and increase their understanding.
She has noticed that after children are adopted, their physical appearance changes. Hair in the Black community is a symbol of pride, upkeep, culture and awareness. Ebony said that more often than not, the hair of adopted children is unkempt. Parents' lack of cultural competence hurts the child. Here is hair 101 for non-Black adopting parents.
Ebony will always support children going to better homes, regardless of race. She offers Black parents a few pieces of advice:
Protect your children; it doesn't cost to be kind.
Watch the company you keep; your kids can be removed from your care if you associate with the wrong crowd
If you are in a dangerous situation, get out, ask for help
Listen to advice! While we may not have walked in your shoes, the information can be useful
Again, if you need help, ask. The county has resources. You can always dial 211 for assistance.
(Ebony poses behind her screen door in her La Mesa home)
shot on Kodak UltraMax400 film in 35mm