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HOW many other children are put in harms way each day because of neglectful parents or a cavalier government agency—sometimes both? Far too many, is the conclusion TBR has reached.

Consider seven year-old James,* whose well-being and safety the District of Columbia government, including the Child and Family Services Agency and the D.C. Superior Court, seemed to have given little regard, when it allowed his mother, Ismahan Elmoge, to swap custody with a neighbor, Christina Dinkins. That swap occurred without notification to the father, and as other relatives pleaded to have the opportunity to care for James. His story reveals indisputable and dangerous gaps within D.C.’s child welfare system.

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THE GIFT: An Interactive Arts Healing and Reconciliation Experience

The ultimate intent of this powerful six-hour program produced by Esther Productions is to bring participants closer to self-reconciliation, greater self-appreciation, self-love and forgiveness, diminishing potential violence against themselves and others.

Write to estherproductionsinc@gmail.com for more information


Saving males of color has become a cause across America. Even before President Obama put his imprimatur on the issue, touting his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, nonprofit organizations began researching the psyche and socioeconomic status of black and Hispanic males. They also had begun proposing various solutions. D.C. jumped into the game this year, when Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a $20 million, three-year Empowering Males of Color initiative. It involves the creation of an “application only,” all-male college-preparatory high school, hundreds of mentorships and school-based grants.

Many initiatives ignore this indisputable fact: Women shape young men. According to the Census Bureau, 25 percent of all U.S. families are headed by single women. That percentage increases to 70 percent in the black community. How equipped are these women for the job of shaping responsible males?

BLACK EMPOWERMENT: Not Just a Black Thing

By Doug Patton

JIM Harris, a husky African American who could have easily found work as a boxer, burst into the 10 x 12 non-descript Dupont Circle office, shouting every known profanity. The white guy with him, George Strawn, attempted to calm him down. But without warning, Jim pulled out a .38 pistol and stuck it in my face. I didn’t believe he’d shoot, but the way his hands were shaking, I thought the gun might discharge accidentally. I couldn’t give any hint that I was concerned about any of it, however.

How had I, a white guy from rural Iowa, landed in an office working with a bunch of black people with hair-trigger tempers who possessed guns they weren’t afraid to use?

Good Question.