Workshop on TRA and child removal @ the USSF!

Are you planning to attend the upcoming U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit?

Are you interested in looking at the intersection of transracial adoption (TRA), child removal from communities of color, and larger social justice movements?

Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora (AFAAD) and Sahngnoksoo (SNS) are co-sponsoring a workshop on these topics, and would like to invite you to attend. Shannon Gibney is the lead organizer for this event. Please contact her if you are an adoptee and would like to contribute, or if you want for more information on how to attend.


WHAT: Where have all our children gone?: Linking child removal from communities of color to larger social justice movements workshop (find complete details below).

WHERE: The U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit. Westin Book Cadillac Hotel: WB3

WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 10 am — 12 pm

For complete information on this event, click here.

Hope to see you then and there!


Where have all our children gone?


The displacement of people refers to the forced movement of people from their homes and homelands. War, poverty and natural disasters are just some of the factors used to justify the ‘adoption solution’ that contributes to a specific process of displacement–the global movement of pre-dominantly non-white children of the global South, to the global North. Transnational adoption is a global phenomenon involving over 38,000 adoptions annuallly and billions of dollars every year. Yet, whether domestic or transnational, adoption furthers the permanent removal of thousands of children each year–the overwhelming majoirity, children of color.

Beginning in 1879 and continuing well into the 1950s, the U.S. government removed more than 100,000 Native American children from their homes and communities and sent them to over 300 boarding schools across the country, in an effort to “civilize” and “tame” them.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2002), as of September 2001, over 556,000 children are in foster care, and over 40% of them are of African descent.

These are just two examples of the powerful, myriad, and complex forces exerting pressure on families and communities of color in the U.S. and around the world to forcibly give up our children. We find that war, militarism, racism, sexism, the Christianizing mission, capitalism, and other oppressions are the root causes pushing children of color into the Child Welfare pipeline domestically, or making them “available” for adoption internationally. How can communities of color and our allies effectively educate, strategize, and mobilize to fight these systems and keep our families and communities intact? How can we better link the nascent movement of politicized adult adoptees and foster care survivors to other global justice movements, such as workers’ rights and labor, fair housing, environmental & reproductive justice, immigration, and many others, in order to turn the tide of this worldwide phenomenon displacing children, dividing families and communities of color? Join us as we attempt to situate the political economy of transracial/transnational adoption and child removal within the larger global economy, and highlight a process of displacement predicated on the systematic exploitation and domination of the global South by the global North.

Workshop leaders — themselves adult transracial/transnational adoptees and professors, activists, and organizers — will lead participants in exploring these questions through hands-on Popular Education, Theatre of the Oppressed activities, and group discussion.


Shannon, Ananya Chatterjea, Hui Nui Wilcox, and Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley wrote a creative and critical essay together, about dance as labor, as an expression of the truth of women of color’s lives, in the new anthology CRITICAL TRANSNATIONAL FEMINIST PRAXIS, edited by Amanda Lock Swarr and Richa Nagar (SUNY Press, 2010).

The essay is titled, “So Much to Remind Us We Are Dancing on Other Peoples’ Blood: Moving Towards Artistic Excellence, Moving from Silence, Moving in Water, with Ananya Dance Theatre,” and features sections in multiple voices about our experiences carving out a safe and productive space for women of color to explore differences and similarities, learn each other’s cultural histories, and build something larger than ourselves.

Check it out, and/or buy a copy here.

We will also be presenting and discussing this piece in a panel at the upcoming NWSA (National Women’s Studies) Conference, November 11-14, in Denver.

Learn more about Ananya Dance Theatre here.