Fans of American Idol star Syesha Mercado are incensed after Florida authorities took her two newborns and placed them into Child Protective Services.
Mercado's nightmare began a few months ago with her 15-month son, Amen'Ra. Mercado began to run out of breast milk and Amen'Ra struggled to accept other fluids. Concerned about his well being, Mercado and her partner, Tyron Deener, took Amen'Ra to John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Florida for further examination. Tragically, local officials learned of the couple's situation and moved to place Amen'Ra in the foster care system. Not only did this decision surprise the young couple, but it also caused many to look deeper into the past of those that contributed to the decision to place Amen'Ra. Further research found that Sally Smith, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Florida, had been previously investigated for potentially placing a child in foster care too quickly.
More recently, Mercado and Deener ran into issues with CPS following the birth of their daughter. After her birth, the agency contacted the couple and asked to do a check on their child. In response, the couple told CPS to arrange a visit through their attorney. Instead, local officials pulled the couple over as Deener drove and Mercado sat in the back cradling her baby. With court orders signed by a judge, took the child from Mercado's arms and placed her into CPS custody. The American Idol star and her partner recorded much of the encounter on camera.
"My baby is days old, and you're taking my baby away from me," Mercado said in distress.
"You have no heart. This is so wrong."
As previously mentioned, Mercado told the officials that they could have set up a welfare check by simply contacting her attorney. However, the officials appear to be unphased by her distressed voice.
"All you had to do was call the attorney. We have all the paperwork," she explained.
"You guys have created so much trauma. You just expect me to come outside and be like, hi, guys, you're my friends. You're not my friends."
After Mercado and Deener's most recent ordeal was recorded, it was posted to Instagram and thousands hopped to her defense. National Advocates for Pregnant Women Director Dana Sussman criticized the cold manner in which Mercado was separated from both of her newborns.
"This system is rooted in our country's history of slavery and regulating the reproduction of Black mothers and Black families," Sussman said.
"It is rooted in the country's belief they can judge who and when people can become parents ... and it's inextricably linked with the racist systems of policing, violence, and poverty."
She also pointed out the discriminatory nature in which CPS handles parents who have previously had their children taken into custody. As she explains, CPS tends to target those parents and makes it more likely that their other children will be taken into custody as well.
"If that mom gets pregnant again, the fetus essentially is already in the system to then be evaluated and the family to be surveilled," she explained.
"What I saw was that sort of suspicion ... continuing with [Mercado's] family. They've already been through so much. ... It's just another traumatic interaction with the system."
Fans of Mercado have also taken steps to support her financially as she prepares for a long legal bout with CPS. Thus far, fans have raised more than $200,000 for the couple.