In New York City activists demonstrate against Adminstration for Child Services

NEW YORK ( – The December 12th Movement International Secretariat, a Brooklyn-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and human rights groups used the backdrop of the United Nations Day of the African Child on June 16, to charge the Administration for Child Services (ACS) with genocide against Black and Latino families.

The demonstrators said the city of New York was “stealing” Black and Latino children, and making a profit from their actions. They also claimed the city was systematically destroying Black families.

New York City Administration for Children�s Services, New Children�s Center in New York Photo courtesy, http:///

“This is an international human rights issue that must be taken before the world,” stated Rolando Bini of Parents in Action.

“I am glad we have Dec. 12th and the NBPP taking a stand, because this issue is also part of the Reparations Movement,” Mr. Bini said.

“This is the 21st century slave trade,” April Raiford of the Dec. 12th Movement told reporters. “Everybody involved profits from the destruction of Black families, ACS, corporations, judges, lawyers, doctors, social workers and foster care agencies all make money off the abuse of our children,” Ms. Raiford added.

According to statistics provided by activists, there are 17,000 children in NYC’s foster care program and 98 percent of them are Black and Latino. Mr. Bini told The Final Call that he believes ACS is in violation of Articles 12, 16 and 25 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 8, 9 and 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr. Bini was afforded the opportunity to address the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Doudou Diene in a private session last month in NYC.

“I wanted to start the ball rolling where we could get a case-by-case breakdown for the special rapporteur. In the past all documentation had been anonymous. Now we can put a face to our allegations of genocide,” he said. Sharrone Salaam, director of the Harlem-based People United for Children also addressed the special rapporteur. “Speaking before Mr. Diene has significance, but I tend to look at the end result,” Ms. Salaam told The Final Call. “I don’t see sanctions being called for at the UN against the U.S.,” she added.

Both activists say it is up to Black and Latino parents and their communities to fight against this “modern-day form of slavery.”

One of the demonstrators was Vanessa James of Queens who formed an organization known as the Committee to Free Amber James. Amber is Ms. James’ six year old daughter, who was taken from her and her husband back in 2007. Ms. James says ACS took their daughter claiming they made too many visits to the doctor, and asked too many questions. Ms. James testified before the special rapporteur in Harlem.

In an exclusive interview with The Final Call, Ms. James says she hasn’t seen or talked to her daughter in over two months.

“They say we are not good parents, because we refuse to submit ourselves to their psychiatric or any of their other programs. We aren’t crazy so why should we subject ourselves to their insanity,” stated Ms. James.

She explained that she believes the city makes money off of the children taken by ACS, because after the children are traumatized from being taken from their parents, they are placed on medication; and that is a profit for the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies.

“They said we need to attend a parenting class. And I asked why, when we have raised a son who is now 23 years old; and he is a good man,” Ms. James said.

Ms. James and other parents who have lost their children to ACS said their children have been abused and beaten while in the system. News reports state the city has 211 personal injury cases pending, quoting Law Department data. The city paid out over $1.8 million because of the personal injury cases that have been settled. According to the data, between July 2006 and June 2007, there were 1,337 complaints against ACS charging the agency with abuse or neglect, 301 cases were substantiated.