Senator renews push for African-American affairs commission

Capital News Service
LANSING — At 14 percent, African-Americans are the largest ethnic minority group in Michigan, according to census data, but there is no state commission dedicated to the needs of this community. “Currently in Michigan, we have a Hispanic/Latino Commission, an Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and a Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs, but we have nothing in terms of civil rights for African-Americans,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I think this is a huge oversight.”
To bridge the gap, Jones re-introduced legislation this month to create an African-American affairs commission focused on improving equality and opportunity for African-Americans in the state. According to the bill, the commission would consist of 15 members who have a particular interest or expertise in the African-American community. They would be appointed by the governor.

Racial disparities in adoption raise concerns

Capital News Service
LANSING – Decades later, Rhonda Roorda still becomes emotional. “Sometimes I still feel the trauma of knowing that but for the grace of God, I could have aged out of the foster care system,” said Roorda, an African-American woman who was adopted by a white couple in 1971. “I could have fallen through the cracks.”

The most recent national data by the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System suggests that many of these cracks in the foster care system are shrinking. The total number of children entering foster care has decreased by 18 percent since 2007. Fewer children are waiting for adoption placement.