White lawyers team up to prevent African mother from seeing her child

PHILADELPHIA, PA––African activist and mother Natasha Danielle (aka Kianga) was ordered to appear in family court in 2012 to address her ex-husband’s abuse allegations. 

He accused her of harming their three-year-old daughter, Ngozi, after he saw a scratch on her belly.  

Kianga, who shared custody of Ngozi with her ex-husband, went to court believing that the charges would be thrown out because the scratch was a result of everyday activities and not trauma. 

What happened at the courthouse instead was a political ambush spearheaded by white lawyer, Deborah Truscello, who used Kianga’s political work around the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal as the reason to strip Kianga of her parental rights for three years. 

The judge threatened Kianga with imprisonment if she attempted to see her child. 

Armed with text messages and lies from the ex-husband, Truscello painted a false picture of Kianga as a dangerous mother who hated white people and defended cop killers (Mumia). 

She was also accused of being a terrorist since she is a hijab-wearing Muslimah. 

Truscello went so far as to show transcripts of text messages between Kianga and her ex-husband, which showed Kianga challenging his backward views characterizing African women as subordinate to white women. 

Truscello also tried to associate Kianga’s political views to that of a local member of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) by showing a video of him saying “we gonna have to kill some of they [white people’s] babies” and by showing historical photos of Black Panther Party founder, Huey P. Newton, holding a weapon.  

Kianga has no relationship with the NBPP. Truscello, however, wanted to associate Kianga to the NBPP––specifically the statements of that particular member––as a way to smear her character.

It was clear that this “abuse” case was more about Kianga’s organizing work than it was about a minor scratch.  

In fact, when the court sent the case to be reviewed by the Department of Human Services (DHS), they found no evidence of abuse and closed the case with no action.  

A day before the case was closed, however, the judge in the case, Kathyrnann Durham, another white woman and personal friend of Truscello, made a ruling without evidence and stripped Kianga of her parental rights for three years. 

Durham has a history of making life-altering sweeping decisions without evidence.

Kianga protested the ruling, taking the case to Superior Court but it was sent back to Family Court at the request of Truscello where it met a dead end. 

Dishonest African collaborates with the courts to deepen crisis

For a year, Kianga did not know where her daughter was, until her own mother was granted visitation. 

Although Kianga was still not allowed to see her child, her mother would report on what Ngozi had been subjected to.  

The ex-husband had been brainwashing Ngozi making her believe that Kianga was not her mother and that Kianga’s family was dangerous. 

Last year, Kianga was allowed to start the process to regain custody of her daughter which required her to submit new documents, as if she never had custody. 

It didn’t help that the process of restoring visitation was delayed because the ex-husband refused to show up for six months. 

Kianga was eventually granted supervised visitation, but is only allowed to see her daughter twice a month for only four hours each visit. 

This makes it difficult for her to form a bond with Ngozi who is now six years old.

Since being granted visitation in 2015, the ex-husband has stepped up his assault against Kianga and her mother, reporting them to DHS five times in one year. 

He’s made claims that Kianga pushed Ngozi down stairs and that Kianga’s mother threatened to chop off Ngozi’s arms. 

When Kianga and the ex-husband appear in court because of these accusations, Truscello is also there to provide false testimony, accusing Kianga of slashing her tires and that there is a warrant out for her arrest, when there is none. 

When Kianga picks up her daughter for visitation, the ex-husband harasses her by taking photos and video of her until she departs. 

He has even reported Kianga to police, stating that she tried to abuse him, however, these accusations are outright lies.

Kianga’s ex-husband also ensures that Ngozi is present in the courtrooms to bear witness to these attacks on her mother. All this is traumatizing to Ngozi.  

Colonial courts deepen contradictions in African families

Although Kianga’s ex-husband is clearly problematic, he is not the fundamental problem. 

The underlying contradiction is the colonial courts that empower and reward him and use his subjective and backward views as leverage to attack Kianga, which is essentially an attack on all black mothers. 

The court and DHS have plenty of evidence that this man is unstable, but they continue to use his personal vendetta against Kianga as a way to deepen Ngozi’s trauma and punish Kianga for her political views.  

Kianga is now in her fourth year of not having full access to her daughter. The courts are giving her the runaround. There still hasn’t even been a date set for a custody trial. 

Kianga has joined with the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) to mount a campaign that will put pressure on the Court to grant her full custody of Ngozi.

ANWO’s campaign will also expose Truscello and Durham for their nefarious handling of this case.

ANWO calls on all African women to support this campaign and ANWO. 

You can get information on how to be a part of the work by visiting www.ANWOUhuru.org.

ANWO also calls on everyone to sign the petition: My Daughter Deserves a Mother!! on Change.org.

Support Kianga!

Support our African women!

Join ANWO! Visit ANWOUhuru.org.

 

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