by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action
I just spoke with Kelley Williams-Bolar, the mother in Ohio who’d been arrested for sending her child to a school outside her district. Her goal had been to go to Connecticut this week to support Tonya McDowell, the second black mother in months to be prosecuted for the same offense. To our surprise, the judge in Kelley’s case, Patricia Cosgrove, denied Kelley the right to travel across state lines.
I find it interesting that this law-abiding mother, who simply wanted a better life for her children, finds herself forced to go through life with a probation hanging over her head, having her freedom restricted by judges and prosecutors who are determined to perpetuate the nightmare for Kelley and her family.
Kelley’s situation (as well as the fact that they are continuing to persecute her ailing father in Ohio, likely due to the attention her case received) is a reminder of how otherwise productive citizens are having their rights violated by a system that will spend scarce resources to keep them locked up instead of helping them to get access to equality in a broken and racist educational system. I am perplexed by the decision of Judge Cosgrove to keep Kelley trapped in Ohio, for I can’t imagine what illegal activity she thinks Kelley might be engaged in, other than (gasp) helping another black woman protect her family from a system that is determined to destroy them.
Welcome to American Racism 101, where it’s now open season on poor black mothers in America.