The Felonious PhD.

White Collar Female PhD. Felon, Prison Camp, Re-Entry, Criminal Justice Reform. Women, Lesbian

My Own Quietly Explosive Here Part 4…………………………………….”We don’t care what she does with the kids!”

on May 23, 2015

Today, it will be five-years that “Ujima Youth Services” has been closed.  I told myself that once I left the Federal Prison Camp, I was going to cease commemorating May 20th, which is the date that my Nevada Medicaid Contract was terminated.  It was also the last official day that I would be able to have foster youth in my programs.  I think it is important for me to end my obsession (just a little one, lol) with how I was closed, my kids, (yes, my kids regardless of what those people say!) were immediately displaced, family and friends were harassed, and my life as I knew it changed forever.  Being able to mindfully and peacefully move onward will allow me to focus my efforts on providing a wonderful, descriptive narrative on how incredible and transformative Ujima was for all involved.  I will never claim that we were perfect, but to its core it was built on the promise of “unconditional love” and  even though it may have been imperfect, I feel its purpose and promise was delivered until its end.

The moment I heard these words as I sat in a conference call hearing with Nevada Medicaid and Attorney General personnel, “We don’t care what she does with the kids” I felt the air slowly seethe out of my soul.  That was the beginning of my depressive self and the end of my dream of a community that provided unconditional love to all that was tethered to me.  I had an incredible time as I embarked on my journey with Ujima Youth Services.  It was much more than I had dreamed.  I will be very conscience in my efforts to not romanticize my experience, because it was extremely challenging operating within the constructs of the Child Welfare System, that is governed by the limiting policies and procedural bureaucracy of the Department of Health and Human Services.  More importantly being forced to adhere to Medicaid fiscal policies and procedures to manage youth in long term foster care by utilizing a Medical Model Modality was a very unnatural way of parenting young souls in foster care.   Being a Medicaid Provider and not a State level contractor made it very difficult to provide the youth in foster care with the opportunity to live in an environment that enhanced their well-being and encouraged personal development so that they (too) could grow into productive and purposeful adults.  Those entities forced us, Providers, families and youth in care, to endure convoluted and on-going obscure policy changes that quite frankly were not conducive to those it was established to serve.  But that is another conversation for another time (lol).

I continue to have contact with many of my older kids, well they are adults now.  I will always be their mother figure and for that I am grateful.   My heart just continues to go out to those youth that were cast away and sent to places that closely resemble the prison setting I am currently trapped within.   For those youth, I will forever feel anger and pain.   There were alternative that could have been exercised by the Federal Criminal Justice System, the Attorney General Office, Nevada Medicaid, Social Services and Health and Human Services, but none were considered.  I just think of that Government representatives statement, “We don’t care what she does with the kids!” and sitting here it is so very apparent to me that Government level Social Systems don’t really care or have the capacity to care about those they are intended to serve.  I completely understand why youth in care, young citizens and many adult citizens don’t care either!  The reality is that to make lasting changes and build a loving community someone has to care, or the cycle continues!

As I embark on the next phase of this journey as a felonious soul (a systemically given life sentence of disenfranchisement) I will remain tethered to those many kids I have worked with and remind myself of how they too were confronted with a life time of disenfranchisement because of their label as FOSTER CHILD (an untethered soul in a community that is forced to rely on and trust in a community of human souls for love, support and guidance) and I will remember how I always encouraged, begged and often demanded that they be the very best they can be despite their circumstances in life.  I miss my Ujima life.  But I am excited to actively participate in achieving my new AMERICAN DREAM (whew!!).

I am completely thankful that I can continue to DREAM and that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given time.   I am also grateful for all of the young people who allowed me to be a part of their lives.

The journey continues………………………………………………felonious phd. 5/2015

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3 responses to “My Own Quietly Explosive Here Part 4…………………………………….”We don’t care what she does with the kids!”

  1. Carita Garcia says:

    The mark you left in all of the kids will forever be present with them. Love and acceptance is what Ujima stood for and what you stood for. Thank you!!

  2. mllarose2000 says:

    The young people who were part of Ujima will always know in their hearts that they were part of a family and a community. And that they were loved and valued.

    The staff, Black, Native, Latin, White will also keep what they learned from you, Dr. Little, in their hearts. You taught them to have compassion for all people. To strive to always be their best selves. They also know they were loved and valued.

    No one, no government agency, can ever take that away from all of us who were part of Ujima. Ujima lives forever in our hearts. Community. Connectedness. Respect. With your vision of what foster care could be, the vision you turned into a reality and affected so many lives with will never die. Aho. And so I pray.

  3. Ryan T Lindsey says:

    As a foster kid in ujima, I made my adolescence, those were are all tough times for me and I was a bad kid in and out of jail. Sandy always took me back tho. I remember she took us like 50 kids to Disneyland and gave us all 100$ so we could get souvrneiers. She also employed alot of those kids and got em started in life as ujima staff when they aged out.

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