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Archive for June, 2008

When Felicia Curtis was four years old, she was placed into foster care along with her older sister and brother.  Her mother decided that she no longer wanted the responsibility of raising them and her father was incarcerated in prison.  Fortunately for Felicia, her family was kept together in the foster care system.

She remembers a succession of foster placements that took place, but always took comfort in the fact that the three of them were brought up as a family unit. Growing up in a community with different ethnicities and races, she recalls getting into a lot of fights and always being sent to the principal.  Felicia got to the point that she didn’t want to go to school.  When asked if she had any early memories of her mother, she answered “No”. Since she was raised in foster care system since four, she said it was like a blank sheet of paper when she thought about her mother. 

Her family to this day remains very close and she sees her brother on a weekly basis. She now has two boys of her own and feels as a mother that it makes you think differently. She is very protective of her sons and makes sure that they are well taken care of.

We asked whether she exercised her right to vote as an act of caring for her children. She said that she voted in the 2000 elections but felt “let down” when the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to George Bush.  She remembered all the controversy with African American voters and people’s votes that weren’t counted. She said that a lot of African American voters felt that their votes didn’t count.

It turned her off to voting and in 2004 when Bush ran for re-election, she decided not to vote. Her feelings were that they were going to do whatever they wanted to and that her vote wouldn’t count, so why bother.

Now in 2008 with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigning to become the Democratic presidential candidate, we asked her how she felt about re-engaging and voting in this election.

She said that she would vote in this election cycle. However, she said “I think it would have been fair if Al Gore had won”.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether votes are counted.  “I personally think it’s a joke if people feel that our votes are truly counted”.  While she would like to feel optimistic about the elections, she’s practical about the harsh realities and the outcomes of our political system.

Today as a mother and an African American, she serves as  a Commissioner on her County’s Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commission. When we asked her what were the most important things to her, she honestly said “My sanity”.  She feels that she has to keep everything in perspective so that she can be there for her family and community.

When I hear Felicia’s story and think about all the hardships she’s had to overcome in her life, I can’t help but reflect upon my own family and childhood. I’m thankful that I have memories of strong and protective parents and growing up in a large family. My parents provided me with a great education, support and caring that helped me to become who I am. For all the parents in the world like Felicia who care for her own family and the foster care kids in the world, we salute and admire your strength and fortitude. Thank you for being such great role models.  Mable

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