By Melinda Clemmons, Chronicle of Social Change
Excited to be home from school, five-year-old Luna Garcia was playing with her little brothers in the front room of her apartment, her grandmother in another room, when she heard a hard knock on the door.
“I wasn’t allowed to answer the door because who lets a little kid answer the door?” she said to a crowd of nearly 100 law enforcement professionals, child welfare workers, advocates, and others last month in Oakland, CA.
Tears welled up in her eyes as Garcia, now 16, recalled how she and her brothers stood and watched as police officers broke down the door of their apartment, ran to her bedroom and then her brothers’, turning over their beds, breaking them in the process.
They were looking for her dad, Garcia told the group, gathered on May 18 for the fourth annual convening of the Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (ACCIPP).
Not finding her father, the officers left. Police officers would again break down the door of her apartment in search of her father while she was home three more times over the next eight years.