Black women are being denied the resources, and the right to live and raise our families with dignity—and without state interference.
We’re barely hanging on when a hurricane or tornado, or some other storm knocks us off our feet. For Black women in the South, including Louisiana, recovering from natural disasters is complicated by the unnatural and unfair systems of oppression we face.
We are living at the intersections of racism, sexism, classism and saddled with the burden of fighting discrimination to stay alive. Getting up can be impossible—and too many Black women and families are still struggling to come back from Katrina, let alone all the storms since. So many Black communities in Louisiana have been wiped out by these storms, not only losing their homes, but also their networks of support. If you are displaced, you lose the very community that has held you up—the people you count on during hard times.
Louisiana Black women are in crisis. We are living in a time when women are in lines—30 or 40 deep—to get a plate of chicken to feed their children. We are living in a place where safe housing is unavailable. As we struggle to survive, we face mounting persecution from the same government that is supposed to protect us.
We live in fear of police violence. We’re forced to send our children to schools that are more likely to criminalize them than educate them. When we turn to doctors for healing, we get an often lethal dose of medical racism. The same politicians who oppose social supports, like food stamps, public housing and Medicaid, pass laws to restrict our rights.
Unrelenting storms are ravaging the world, including Louisiana. The attack on our reproductive rights is another storm threatening Black women in Louisiana and across the country.
Black women are being denied the resources, and the right to live and raise our families with dignity—and without state interference. The impending overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, threatens to further denigrate Black women’s rights and lives. When the government decides that our bodies are not our own, we lose more than the right to abortion, we lose the right to our bodily autonomy and integrity.
The attack on our reproductive rights is another storm threatening Black women in Louisiana and across the country. During these attacks on our reproductive rights, the pandemic’s ongoing threats to our health and livelihood and the everyday oppression that we face, far too many Black women don’t even have the comfort of a home because it’s been washed away.
As politicians gather with their families, we remind them about the Black families who have been left to languish. We demand that those elected to represent us take immediate action to ensure that Black women and families, at minimum, have the resources and freedom to live with dignity.
Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.