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Adoption and Fear

((Banner: Police))
((Reporter: Claire Morin-Gibourg))
((Camera: Arzouma Kompaoré))
((Map: Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado))

((April Rauch, Mother of Adopted and Biological
What I do ask you almost every single day is to not wear
your hood on your sweatshirt. People perceive differently if
they see you in your hooded sweatshirt versus your brother
in your hooded sweatshirt. You’ve told me that you’ve been
followed in the Safeway up there, right?
((Guyan Rauch, Adopted Son))
((April Rauch, Mother of Adopted and Biological
So, you know, so both the kids go up to Safeway to go
grocery shopping. Do you get followed at Safeway?
((Henrik Rauch, Biological Son))
I haven’t noticed it.
((April Rauch, Adoptive Mother))
You haven’t noticed it?
((Guyan Rauch, Adopted Son))
That’s probably a ‘no’.
Are you worried about your brother?
((Henrik Rauch, Biological Son))
Yeah. I just don’t want him to get hurt because of the way
he looks because he is my brother.
((April Rauch, Adoptive Mother))
I thought that we were prepared to parent children of color.
But I remember that the very first thing that really rocked our
world was [the killing of] Trayvon Martin.
((Picture of Trayvon Martin / Credit: AFP))
Because I remember that photo that was released of him in
his hoodie that looked so much like you, and we took you
kids to the march here in Seattle. And that just rocked my
world. That could have been you guys.
((NATS: children marching and chanting))
(Chant: I am Trayvon! I am Trayvon!))
((Locator: Denver, Colorado))
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
I was adopted when I was two days old.
((Patsy Hathaway, Alex Landau’s Adoptive Mother))
We just wanted a baby that would be healthy that could be
ours legally and we did not care about skin color.
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
When I was four years old, we adopted my younger sister
Maya from a different biological family. She is my sister just
like my parents are my parents. I never really had the ability
to distinguish my skin color and how my skin color was
different from other folks around me, even my parents.
((Patsy Hathaway, Alex Landau’s Adoptive Mother))
When you are Caucasian parents, you may go into it thinking
on some level that you understand the concept of
colorblindness and superficially we were terrific. I mean, we
knew that it would be good to have a name identity that they
could relate to being black. Alex was named after Alex
English, an amazing Denver Nuggets basketball player who
is also a poet, and Maya was named after [writer and
activist] Maya Angelou. And we joined a group for
transracial adoptions and we bought the right kind of books
and with black characters but we didn’t understand what it’s
like to be black in America, what it’s like to grow up in a
transracial family. I did not understand about race. I was
totally naïve.
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
((Credit: Youtube, University of Denver Graduate School of
Social Work))
My name is Alex Landau and I appreciate everybody coming
out here this evening. I also am very thankful to be here. I
am a human right activist. I am a community member in the
Denver metropolitan area. I am a survivor of extreme police
abuse. I didn’t even fully understand their capabilities. I
assumed being out of handcuffs that I can have an
interaction with these law enforcement officers who were
searching through my '84 Lincoln Town Car. And to give you
a description, if you’ve seen 'The Godfather' it would be what
some people might consider a mobster mobile, very old, very
big body. I asked if I could see a warrant before they
continued searching my car.
((Chyron: Re-enactment))
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
However, these officers immediately became irate and
began to punch me in the face.
((NATS: Alex Landau in the street where the beating
It’s like right in this area, facing underneath my car and I
could just feel the gun pressed to the side of my head. And
then, when I regained consciousness, they rolled me out by
my ankles and dragged me across the grass. And then let
me bleed on an officer's jacket until the paramedics arrived.
((NATS: Police cars))
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
I almost bled out on the way to the hospital because I went
into hemorrhagic shock. And so, after the photos were
taken, I received 45 stitches. I was treated for a broken
nose, diagnosed for a concussion and later with a brain
((Maya Landau, Alex Landau’s Adoptive Sister))
I want you to know that, like, it affects me all the time. But
me, as a person, it’s hard for me to fully come up with the
words to just say, I’m so sorry for what you went through and
I should be more vocal and I am learning how to do that. I’m
learning how to be more outspoken.
((Patsy Hathaway, Alex Landau’s Adoptive Mom))
What I had to do after the assault was to begin to talk about
it and to fight for Alex.
((Photo Credit: Danielle Lirette))
And by fighting and speaking out, I began to lose friends and
immediate family members that I would talk about this stuff.
But it’s been worth it, because that’s what you do. If you
don’t talk, then you’re complicit. If you don’t fight racism,
then you’re complicit.
((NATS: Excerpts - "Mr. Officer,” Alex Landau))
((Courtesy: YouTube))
((Popup Banner: Landau settled a lawsuit with Denver City for
$795,000 in 2011 and two officers were fired))
((Alex Landau, Adoptee))
It’s made me colder and it’s made me bitter. There is a part of me
that has been permanently altered. I am a different person
because of that night and it totally changed the trajectory of my
((NATS: Excerpts - "Mr. Officer,” Alex Landau))
((Courtesy: YouTube))