American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado may soon be reunited with her son

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Former American Idol Contestant Syesha Mercado and Partner May Reunite with Young Son Amen’Ra Soon six months after being taken from them following a medical examination at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

“Conversations are underway and Ra should be heading home soon,” said Donisha Prendergrast, co-founder of We Have the Right to be Right, a nonprofit focused on social justice issues that has been in close contact. with the family and their Lawyers. “The family is negotiating to get him home. “

Battle for custody:Manatee County officials take newborn baby of American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado

Spotlight on Syesha:The career of singer Syesha Mercado

The couple have been working since March for the return of their now 16-month-old son, who was placed in foster care after what Mercado and his partner Tyron Deener believed was a routine trip to the hospital. They were concerned that Mercado’s breast milk supply would start to run out and the boy would not accept other fluids.

On February 26, they took him to St. Petersburg hospital where they were evicted from the premises two weeks later by St. Petersburg police for trespassing. Their son has been placed in foster care for allegations of malnutrition. After being placed with a family, he was then placed in the care of Xtavia Bailey, one of Mercado’s sisters.

The case involves Dr Sally Smith, who heads the Pinellas County Child Protection Team and oversees nearly every All Children’s Hospital case with suspicious injuries. She is considered one of the most powerful figures in the child welfare system on the Florida Gulf Coast and has been criticized by defense attorneys, parents and protection workers. childhood for its aggressive approach in questioning parents.

Previously:Critics say powerful pediatrician is too quick to diagnose child abuse, traumatizing families

Read the full survey on foster families:Florida took thousands of children from families and then failed to protect them.

And:Children in foster care lived with abusers. No one told their parents about it.

Mercado was pregnant with her second child when Ra was taken from her. The incident gained national attention in part because of Mercado’s fame as a runner-up in the seventh season of “American Idol” and as an actress and singer who appeared on Broadway in “The Book of Mormon. “and in nationally touring musicals, including” Dreamgirls. “

She gave birth to a daughter in early August, and 10 days later, after a roadside standoff in Manatee County, sheriff’s deputies forcibly took custody of the baby to have her examined in the hospital. A video of MPs taking the child has been viewed more than 3.5 million times on Mercado’s Instagram page alone.

Singer and actress Syesha Mercado with her toddler son Amen'Ra, who was placed in foster care after she and her partner, Tyron Deener brought him to the children's hospital for treatment.

The little girl was sent back to Mercado and Deener about 10 days later.

The couple started a GoFundMe page for Bring Ra Home which has raised over $ 464,000 nearly 13,000 donors. On August 22, a rally was held at Payne Park in Sarasota, organized by Black Lives Matter Manasota, to draw attention to the custody case.

Prendergrast said Amen’Ra’s expected return to her parents is at least in part a result of “pressure from the movement” that has developed around the couple’s frequent Instagram posts and other media posts. social detailing their fate.

The nonprofit We Have the Right to be Right sent blindfolded teddy bears to child welfare offices across the country to draw attention to child custody cases. children like the one involving former American Idol competitor Syesha Mercado.

Prendergrast said the #BringRaHome effort has expanded to #BringOurBabiesHome to address similar cases across the country. Earlier this week, We Have the Right to Be Right organized the shipment of blindfolded teddy bears to child welfare workers across the country.

“This is a very unique time in history when we, as the nation, are able to bear witness to an abducted child and separated families. And we see the struggle of families to maintain their rights as parents against state protocols and the efforts required to reunite them, ”she said.

“If we look at the history of these cases of PCS, it usually takes months, sometimes years for families to be reunited,” Prendergrast said. “We know Ra will be home soon and we want to take this moment to shine a light on so many other families, families who can’t get the same attention.”

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