On April 20, 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by a police officer outside of the foster home she was living in. For many Black people who have experienced the foster care system, bearing witness to Ma’Khia’s violent death as the officer’s body camera footage spread on social media has been excruciating.

This is a series of essays and poetry reflecting on the death of a Black teenager with a bright future ahead of her, and what it says to the authors about the current state of the child welfare system for Black parents and children.


The Space Between Life, Death and Opportunity: When I Was 16

Amnoni Myers provides the introduction to this series of essays and poems reflecting on the death of Ma'Khia Bryant while in Ohio foster care


We Need a New System That Values Black Families

The child welfare system has historically over-policed Black and brown families, and provided subpar care for Black and brown children. Focused more on separation than family preservation, America’s “child protective system” has been rooted in injustice and racist ideology that punishes the poor and families of color.


From One Parent to Another: A Letter to Paula Bryant

Angela Braxton, a Black parent who experienced the removal of her children, writes an open letter to Paula Bryant about her child's death.


The Privilege of Innocence: Ma’Khia Bryant and The Adultification of Black Girls in Foster Care

There is no perfect way to be a child in foster care. As a 30-year-old Black woman and foster youth alumni, I reflect daily on my decisions as a traumatized youth in care and the grace that was not always granted to me.


We Still Don’t Really See Families in The Child Welfare System

Dee Bonnick reflects on her own story, and that of Ma'Khia Bryant, and laments the lack of parent engagement by child welfare systems.


Young, Gifted, & Black

Sade Daniels presents her poem Young, Black & Gifted, an artistic critique of the present treatment of Black girls in American foster care