The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner:
“Take Care of Maya” and “Take My Hand”

Jun 26, 2023

Film: Take Care of Maya

This film recounts how a trip to the emergency room resulted in Maya, a ten year old girl, being separated from her parents by a hospital and child protection services. When her parents took her to Johns Hopkins emergency in Florida, the hospital refused to listen to the parents. They instead brought in the medical director of a privatized child protection service, who, after 10 minutes, decided the parents were abusing Maya, immediately instigated proceedings against the parents, and suspended parental rights.

The family never gave up, though. Today Maya is back with her family, and a court case, after years of delays, is finally scheduled for this coming September.

In the publicity from the fight, many other families came forward with their stories, and also recounted devastating forced family separations and even jail time. These privatized family agencies say that they will save money for the hospitals and the state, and make a profit for their investors, when in reality they cut corners and do more damage than good.

Book: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, 2022

Inspired by true events, this novel tells the story of widespread experimental birth control and forced sterilization in the 1960s and 1970s from the point of view of a young black nurse and two young girls in her charge. The young woman thinks she is providing a needed service to poor black women, giving them control over their bodies and their reproduction. She comes to realize these federally funded clinics are sterilizing women and girls against their will and giving them birth control that caused cancer in lab animals. Even girls who were not sexually active, as young as 11, were sterilized.

These federal clinics forced their experimental services on women and girls who were on “aid,” that is, who were poor, often illiterate, mostly black or Latina. The story takes place in Montgomery, Alabama, the same area where the horrific Tuskegee syphilis experiments were conducted on black men for 40 years. At the end of the book, in 2016, she revisits the issues and people and reveals that forced sterilizations continue even today.