Janks Morton Does It Again


I recently had the privilege of attending the Montgomery County, Maryland screening of the Janks Morton documentary: Guilty Until Proven Innocent.  The film proved to be a POWERFUL illuminator of the tremendous and untold strife, despair and torturous circumstances faced by fathers in the Family Court and Child Support systems.

Gritty and raw, the documentary features interviews by Producer/Director Janks Morton, who sits with several fathers as they recount the horror stories they’ve faced when former spouses used both their anger and their children to punish them.  Each story is as heart-wrenching as the next, and, sitting in the audience, I could feel the tension rising until one father, completely overwhelmed, succumbed to his emotions in front of the camera, and the audience, unable to stop itself, followed suit.

As someone who has worked closely with the National Fatherhood Initiative among other groups, I am all too clear that these stories are being repeated across the nation.  Unfortunately, the plight of these fathers are not only hidden by the national media, they are made more horrific by the cold-as-steel dismissal of these fathers by the systems charged with guarding “the best interests of the children.”

Speaking of the children, Mr. Morton provided great insight into the vast scope of divorce and the state of our community family structures by interviewing several youth during the film.  He asked them to say their names and reply to the question: “Are your parents married, divorced, separated or never married?”  It was appalling to find that NOT ONE youth lived in a home with married parents.  Although only a small sample was provided, it was a grim reminder of the terrible scale of the breakdown of the American family structure.  To add salt to the wound: most of the youth remarked that a child of divorce should unequivocally be placed with the mother….

These interviews give us insight into why the plight of fathers generally, and Black males in particular, with the exception of other works by Morton himself, such as Men II Boys, are literally ignored by the general public.  This ignorance MUST END!  NOW!  No matter what side of the Child Support fence one might find oneself, how can we effectively provide the best for our children by ignoring the injustices endured by ANY of  their parents?

A brief panel discussion was held after the viewing by stakeholders in the Maryland area.  Maryland Delegate Jill Carter, one of the panelists that was featured in the film, remarked on the severity of the injustices fathers face and on the socio-political levels they face them.  She sponsored a bill in the House of Delegates that called for a reform of the system that determines percentage of custody time between mother and father.  Her bill included some ideas deemed radical by the establishment, including a call to end the exchange of money between parents when they both have equal custody.  Sounds like common sense, no?  According to Delegate Carter, the Women’s Caucus of the House WALKED OUT of the building, and refused to even debate the issue.  As she stated during the panel discussion: “If you’re so convinced about the validity of your position, why be afraid to debate it?”

Hear, hear….

The following is an excerpt from the film description provided on the DVD:

For decades, sociologists, psychologists and academics have examined the plethora of social ills children of divorce encounter over their lifetimes.  For the first time, the fathers of divorce are given a platform and a voice to share their most intimate feelings around the challenges of not having full and complete access to their children.  We all have heard the stories of biased family courts, bitter spousal retributions, exorbitant alimony, child-support and lawyer fees, but have we ever stopped to wonder what goes on in the heart of a father, when he is alone, with no knowledge of where his children are?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent features Dr. Linda Nielsen, Maryland Delegate Jill Carter, Michael McCormick, Kenneth Williams and Hans Olsen.  It is a MUST SEE.  Please visit www.whatblackmenthink.com to find out more about this documentary and other projects by Janks Morton.

Thank you Mr. Morton, and all involved, for all you do to bring light to a dark and persistently challenging issue.

What are YOUR thoughts on this?

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5 Responses to "Janks Morton Does It Again"

  • Janks Morton says:

    thank you for such an insightful and thorough review!

  • steveberlack says:

    You’re welcome Janks. Thank you for shining your light.

  • Nila Fordyce says:

    Kudos to all involved in this film and seeing that it gets out to the public and our egregious Family Legal System–especially, attorneys, evaluators and judges.
    They have for years and years prayed on our poor innocent fathers along with alot of very narcissistic mothers. ( I can name a few…) There is something WRONG with this picture when the Family Legal System and others take a good fit father away from a child for selfish and inane reasons. They all need to be ashamed………….And all they have done is FRACTURE lives of our children–the emotional impact is everlasting people I don’t care who you are. That’s a fact!!! I am a woman and I can’t imagine growing up without a natural father in my life. He was my HERO and still is at 88. I worshipped my DADDY–he taught me so much. And all these children without their good fathers MISS so much in their lives………………Stop this from continuing. Just because a mother is a mother does NOT mean she is the better parent.

  • Nila Fordyce says:

    Sorry, but thank you and thank you.

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