When the media neglects to cover Black missing person stories, it is omitting the fact that people care about missing Black women and girls, and permitting the conditions for this toxic environment of invisibility and violent actions with no recourse to thrive.
The stories of women who participated in focus groups led by SisterSong, included in a new report, convey the gross under-education and discriminatory treatment of Black women living in the South, in particular, where sexual and reproductive health education is nonexistent and stigma is rampant.
All too often, when women of color are concerned about things outside of what appears to be the predominant white woman’s agenda, those things aren’t considered “women’s issues.” But, we cannot tell women of color what issues are important to them.
The recent exclusion of the long-term work of scores of reproductive justice organizations, activists, and researchers that have challenged the “pro-choice” label for 20 years, seen recently in New York Times and Huffington Post articles, is not only disheartening but, intentionally or not, continues the co-optation and erasure of the tremendously hard work done by Indigenous women and women of color for decades.
Many discussions of Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mother who was jailed for “abandoning” her 9-year-old daughter at a park, fail to mention how limited child-care options are for low-income parents, especially those who are single.
Black women specifically face a larger wage gap than women overall, and their Equal Pay Day comes more than two months later than the day women’s groups normally highlight.
The controversial photos that some visitors took at the exhibit are not only troublesome because they disrespect the art, but because the mocking and dehumanization of the Black female body has a long history in our society.
Black women already have low and inconsistent use of birth control due to access barriers, and Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision is one more that puts effective care out of financial reach for many in need.
The report shines a light on the harmful racial stereotypes driving one of the right’s latest anti-abortion efforts.
Modern Mississippi freedom fighters must remain committed to Hamer’s legacy of bridging voting and reproductive rights into a comprehensive reproductive justice effort to protect Black women and other populations that are vulnerable to violations of both.