Welcome back to our monthly series of Things We’re Into, an update on everything CASA staff is buzzing about! We’re here as Certified Professional Enthusiasts to keep the series going with some ~super~ recommendations on movies, articles, and everything else in recent memory that pertains to our advocacy at CASA.
It may not officially be summer yet, but the Texas heat is here for good—so we’re already looking for excuses to stay inside with the A/C and a new book or TV show.
If you’re Netflix queue is running low, watch
When They See Us, streaming on Netflix
"This 4-part series should be at the top of everyone's queue right now, but especially for those of us who work with or care about kids in foster care. This film looks at the systemic racism that stole the lives of 5 children in New York City in the 80s, known as the Central Park Five. When we consider both the disproportionate numbers of black children in the foster care system (they made up 26% of our clients last year in spite of the Travis County population being at only 9%) and the foster care to prison pipeline, we see how these systems collide with each other to the further detriment of children of color. Please watch this." - Callie Langford, Director of Communications
Sesame Street, streaming on PBS Kids, HBO and YouTube
"Sesame Street has reportedly introduced a Muppet character in foster care as part of its Sesame Street in Communities program. The character, Karli, lives with Clem and Dalia, her ‘for-now parents.’ In addition to Karli's appearance on the iconic children's program, ABC News reported, the initiative is promoting a series of YouTube videos addressing questions and concerns about foster care.
‘Fostering a child takes patience, resilience, and sacrifice, and we know that caring adults hold the power to buffer the effects of traumatic experiences on young children,’ said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop. ‘We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters — they have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety.’" – via The Hill
This may be our second time recommending Foster, but with good reason—several CASA volunteers like Brittany have been vocal about this film’s eye-opening impact:
“FOSTER provided me with a continued, deeper understanding of the foster care system. I believe this is an important documentary for everyone to watch because it sheds some light on the reality of the foster care system and all of the hard work that is being done to improve not only the system, but the lives of people every day. FOSTER was another resource that continues to fuel my passion of making sure that we are, effectively and actively, taking care of our community and our children.” – Brittany Martin, CASA volunteer
If you’re on the hunt for a good read, check out
Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper
“Eloquent Rage is a book that tackles race, misogyny, violence, love and friendship. It is the story of one woman’s journey as a black feminist. It has been called ‘a black woman’s story of pain and possibility.’”- Wendy Morse, Training Specialist
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
“Random Family chronicles the fast-paced and heart-wrenching stories of a group of children and youth from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc spent the better part of a decade in their South Bronx neighborhood, seeking to understand their joys and struggles.
What emerges is a cautionary tale for adults who truly care about leaving no child behind.
The young people we meet in this book – including Jessica, Boy George, Coco and Cesar – essentially raise themselves, surrounded by familial chaos of nearly incomprehensible proportions. The adults in their lives…are so busy trying to make sense of their own situations that they don’t have the time, energy or inclination to give the kids guidance, support or even protection. Left largely to their own and each other’s devices, the young people set out to find money and love, often in all the wrong places… Random Family is a story of lost opportunity, which makes it particularly salient for adults who work with or on behalf of young people.” – via Youth Today
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
“The Boys in the Boat tells the incredible story of a group of young men who grew up during the Great Depression and came together as a rowing team for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The story primarily follows the true story of Joe Rantz, whose mother passed away when he was young and whose father and step-mother abandoned him, and his process of hard work, self-determination, and disciple that helped him to find a home and a group of lifelong friends amongst his rowing team. This book was inspirational and encouraging!” - Victoria Young, Events Manager
2019 CASA Recommends June