Getting to Know Joyce James

Posted on October 3rd, 2016

jjThe Undoing Racism Speakers series has been a great success. Please join us to hear Joyce James, our second dynamic speaker, discuss race, racism and how people of all races must come together to change our communities and change the future for all children (for details on this event click here).

She has been changing lives for more than 36 years. Joyce James’ advocacy and expertise have brought her national recognition as a leading expert on issues impacting the most vulnerable populations: children, youth and families.

James is a racial equity consultant, daring to tread into territory that others fear – speaking out on the often hushed topics of institutional and structural racism. “When all factors are considered, race continues to be the predictor of overall well-being,” says James. “There are disproportionate removals of African-American children from homes into foster care. There are disproportionate numbers of African-American juveniles locked up,” James continues. “And a disproportionate number of African-American men are jailed, facing a felony, for the same crime that white men commit,” without the same punishment.

James has also examined studies that show black children are disproportionately disciplined by the education system, starting in pre-school, reinforcing stereotypes that something is wrong with them. “The mere fact that outcomes are disparate in every system and institution, in every state in the U.S., is proof that there is something in the fabric of our culture, of our systems and institutions, that contributes to the problems.”
Joyce James has firsthand knowledge of the inequalities. She served as the Assistant Commissioner of Texas Child Protective Services and her leadership was crucial to convincing lawmakers to pass historic legislation that requires CPS to address racial dis-proportionality.

“We have these false assumptions about race that we have been socialized to believe,” James says. “In the absence of understanding the history of racism and how it came to be, we continue to perpetuate and sustain racism. We are ill-informed as to how to undo it.” James has pursued her advocacy with the belief that, “if it was done (racism), it can be undone.”
Joyce James is coming to Indianapolis to serve as the keynote speaker for an “Undoing Racism” Speakers Series facilitated by Child Advocates. She is the second speaker in the four-part, monthly series and you can hear her and join the conversation at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on October 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Child Advocates, which serves as a voice for abused and neglected children in Marion County, created the free Speakers Series as an offshoot of its “Undoing Racism” workshops. The organization has held more than 40 workshops since 2010 for child welfare workers, community organizations and the whole community. James has also spoken at the two-day workshops as a core trainer for The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, an anti-racism organization in New Orleans which conducts the workshops. James hopes that audiences, of all races, will invite friends and family and come to the Speakers Series. She believes that it is crucial that we work collaboratively across racial lines for the common good of our communities. “It’s an important conversation so that we have a chance to hear each other’s truths.”

James stresses, “The conversations take place in a space that is respectful, where people are willing to listen to each other, understanding that we may hear some things that challenge us or with which we disagree.” But she says, “Come to be in that space together, to be on a journey to truth and the healing of racism.”
To register for the “Undoing Racism” Speakers Series, contact Nikita Garner, with Child Advocates, at nikita@childadvocates.net or call 317-493-2227. To learn more about Child Advocates, go to www.childadvocates.net/events.

Angela Cain is an Emmy award-winning former television news anchor/reporter, community affairs director and director of public affairs. She left the corporate world to launch her own small business with a desire to inspire and motivate people to focus on “what matters most” in this beautiful life we’ve been given. Angela Cain Communications shares people’s stories and expert interviews about “what matters most,” including our passions and purpose, family, relationships, health, careers and community. Angela Cain Communications also helps tell the story of “what matters most” to businesses, including nonprofits, through blogs, videos, PR, media and community relations.