May 22 Symposium: A Mother’s Right To Parent Her Children

Wed May 22, 2013 -
5:00pm to 7:00pm
United States



Contact: Dionne Turner, Communications Coordinator,, 404‐756‐2680 



A Reproductive Justice and Human Rights Online Symposium –

hosted by SisterSong


Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – 1pm-3pm EST – Atlanta, GA - SisterSong, the national Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, will host a special two-hour post-Mother’s Day online symposium to address the tragic story of Sheryl – a loving mother whose three children were taken from her fifteen months ago. Torn apart at the hospital where she took her four-month old son for care, she believes the child’s removal and the accusations of child abuse against her were based on false assumptions. However, her research and other opinions substantiate that he was Vitamin D deficient and susceptible to brittle bones that are easily fractured – an issue common to African-American children.

Select advocates and experts will gather to discuss the environmental, health, social, political, economic, and racial factors impacting this powerful and compelling story. The intersectionality of the Reproductive Justice and Human Rights frameworks will be explored and help clarify the elements taking place in this case, and many other similar cases across the nation, that have negatively impacted the lives of women of color and their children.


A Mother’s Story

SisterSong stands in solidarity with the birth mother and her human right to parent her children, supported by the Reproductive Justice (RJ) framework: the right to have a child, not have a child, and to parent children in safe and sustainable communities. Our mission is to amplify the voices of women of color, and we seek to provide a safe space for this mother who loves and desperately misses her children to discuss how the diagnosis of her infant child’s fracture and it’s connection to Vitamin D deficiency have resulted in child abuse claims against her and the removal of all three of her children.

“We shouldn’t have to lose our children to find out about Vitamin D deficiency,” Sheryl explains, as she discusses the events that led up to the painful separation from her children.

The most extraordinary and unplanned moment between Sheryl and her 10‐year old child, who together successfully birthed her newborn at home, goes unnoticed in the wake of tenuous accusations that disregard the infant’s birth history, parental history and evidence of character, and the actual cause of the child’s fracture. The same mother who had placed her children’s well‐being at the center of her life, evidenced by the carefully thought‐out nutritional, educational, social, and community‐oriented choices she made on a daily basis to ensure her children’s successful and healthy development now suffers at the hand of a system that boasts acting in the children’s best interest, while unduly interfering with the sanctity of family unification.

“[The child] and I have been robbed of experiencing his first spring and summer together and we spend our only time together in the prison of a room with which my family has been horribly punished,” Sheryl, deprived mother of three, sadly states.


Symposium Desired Outcomes

By bringing the community together to learn about the impact of environmental and health factors on the development of our children’s bodies; the historically racialized and class‐based inequalities present in social systems and decision‐making that criminalizes people of color and disregards the individual; and the accountability practices necessary to prevent these cases – we seek to shed light and impact justice for these family units that have been devastatingly separated.

We want the violations against Sheryl and her family’s human rights to end – and to enact Reproductive Justice for all mothers who love and wish to parent their children in safe and sustainable communities.


About SisterSong

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective amplifies and strengthens the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure reproductive justice through securing human rights.

“Doing Collectively What We Cannot Do Individually”

For more information on how to view the livestreamed online symposium May 22nd, check our website or connect with us on Facebook (SisterSongWOC). 

Join the Conversation on Twitter - May 22nd 1-3pm ET - @SisterSong_WOC / #amothersright



Sponsored by: 
reproductive justice, SisterSong, women of color, vitamin D deficiency, children of color, right to parent