On April 16th, Rise and Revolution Books Educational Fund co-hosted the NYC debut of Dorothy Roberts’ new book, Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World.
Carl Dix of Revolution Books provided a welcome and Jeanette Vega Brown and Bianca Shaw, Co-Executive Directors of Rise, introduced Rise and the panelists. During the event, author Dorothy Roberts read excerpts of her latest book, Torn Apart, laying out data and information about the harm of the family policing system and the vision for abolition, as well as sharing the story of a family terrorized and impacted by the system. Halimah Washington and Naashia B. shared their experiences as organizers at Rise and as parents impacted by family policing. They highlighted their participatory action research project process and findings. They also discussed the campaign for universal child care—and why child care is a family policing issue. Carl Dix, who has fought against the horrors of police brutality and incarceration, discussed the need to break up institutions of violent oppression, including the family policing system. Following the panel discussion, attendees asked questions, shared reflections and engaged in conversation, describing why the book is meaningful to them, discussing their advocacy work and identifying issues and ideas for change—and for building momentum in the movement.
The event was also an opportunity for relationship and community building, and included time to connect, share resources and information, enjoy food and drinks, take photos, browse books and engage in conversation with people impacted by and/or interested in addressing family policing. Following the discussion, Dorothy Roberts signed many copies of Torn Apart purchased by attendees.
The event was held at Revolution Books, an all-volunteer not-for-profit bookstore in Harlem that offers programs, hosts events and is home to a collection of revolutionary books about the world and for a new world, including Afrocentric books and books by authors of color for children and adults.
Rise extends deep gratitude to Dorothy Roberts, our friends at Revolution Books and everyone who gathered in community to join the event, whether in person or via Facebook Live!
>> View the recording of the event on Revolution Books’ YouTube channel.
Video Clips from Torn Apart Event
Dorothy Roberts Discusses the Devaluing of Black Motherhood and Myths and Stereotypes
“I first became aware of the real horrors of the family policing system when working on my first book, Killing the Black Body, which is about the longstanding regulation, hatred and stigmatization of Black women’s childbearing and the way our mothering is devalued and has been devalued since the time of slavery.”
—Dorothy Roberts, Professor, Researcher, Scholar and Activist
Halimah Washington Discusses Systems that Target Black and Brown Communities
“The health care system, education system, prison system, family policing system—all of these systems target, surveil and punish Black and brown communities.” —Halimah Washington, Rise Community Coordinator
Halimah Washington Highlights Rise’s Child Care Campaign, Support Groups and Parent Advocate Training
“That is ridiculous to have to be involved with the ACS (or family policing) system in order to get child care so you can work, go to school or do anything to better yourself.” —Halimah Washington, Rise Community Coordinator