Single Moms Need Financial Support: ‘The Money We Receive Isn’t Enough to Cover Everything’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT), which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

Catrina first shared her story with Ms. in 2022. Since she stopped receiving funds through the Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, she’s now on disability for ongoing health issues, but hopes to one day return to the job she loves caring for the elderly.

“The government thinks that the money we receive through disability is enough to cover everything, but it honestly isn’t. … I’m number one for believing that able-bodied people need to work. When I was a full able-bodied person, even though I had health issues, I still got up six to seven days a week and worked anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. I worked my butt off. But right now, I’m not able to work.”

New College of Florida Eliminates Gender Studies Program, Leaving Students in the Crossfire

Professor Viki Peer was hired in the fall of 2022 to teach a course for the New College of Florida’s gender studies program. Instead, what unfolded before her and the student body was a complete conservative takedown of the institution by the Board of Trustees.

“The spirit of critical thinking, compassion and creative resistance is still alive at New College among the faculty, students and staff who remain.”

Texas’ Voter Suppression Law Is on Trial

Civil rights groups and voting organizations are in federal court challenging a Texas law that makes it harder to vote, especially for people of color and those with disabilities. Over the course of the trial, which goes until late October, counsel will show how Senate Bill 1 violates the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

While SB 1 is one of many anti-democracy laws enacted by 19 states in the year after the 2020 election, it stands out for its sheer number of restrictive and discriminatory provisions, which largely target Latino and Black voters. This is likely the only challenge to such an extensive restrictive voting law that will go to trial between now and the 2024 election. 

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Female Candidates Are Often Discussed Using Gendered Terms; Rest in Power, Anita Cornwell

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: Female candidates are more likely to be described as “emotional” or “compassionate,” while male candidates are more likely to be described as “strong” or “confident”; Anita Cornwell, a revolutionary Black lesbian feminist writer, died at 99; progress toward gender balance in the U.S. is frustratingly slow and uneven; Delfina Gómez won her gubernatorial election in the state of Mexico to become the first woman to hold this position in the state; and more.

Three Reasons Congress Should Reject Medicaid Work Requirements

On April 26, the House passed Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill, the “Limit, Save and Grow Act.” If enacted, the bill would create new work reporting requirements, stripping Medicaid coverage from adults unable to document eighty hours of work or community service per month.

Work reporting requirements are unnecessary, harmful and ultimately counter to the goals of the Medicaid program. Here’s why.

Recognizing Our Essential Workers: The Women of the Long-Term Care Industry

Long-term care workers like myself—an industry that is almost entirely women of color—are some of the most disrespected, unprotected and underpaid workers in the country.

On Tuesday, President Biden signed an executive order to improve care and support care workers—the most comprehensive action yet to address this industry in crisis. This is a great first step, and I hope for the sake of my community and our loved ones that this starts to pave the way for necessary change. We will take this win and use it to motivate our continued fight. 

April 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

My hope is that each of you reading this column will do some research in your own communities to find out where the threats to the freedom to read lie. Talk to your local school and public librarians. Call your legislators, sign the petitions, run for your local school board, raise hell. 

And also, keep reading. Read the 34 books on this list or whatever else you can get your hands on. Then pass those books on to your friends, your kids, your friends’ kids, or donate them to your libraries and schools.  

Rest in Power: Judy Heumann, a Tireless Organizer for Disability Rights

On Sunday, March 4, the world lost a fierce, funny, tireless organizer for disability rights with the death of Judith Ellen “Judy” Heumann.

If you want to work for change, take her advice: “When other people see you as a third-class citizen, the first thing you need is a belief in yourself and the knowledge that you have rights. The next thing you need is a group of friends to fight back with.”

Pain and Prejudice (Winter 2018)

The very name of the illness that had so totally derailed my life sounded like a joke, as if it were nothing more than ordinary life in our too-fast age, the complaint of someone too lazy to keep up. The words stung my lips with insult: “chronic fatigue syndrome.”

Though I felt like I was suffering in my own private hell, more than a million Americans shared my fate. Worldwide, the number is estimated at between 17 and 30 million. Though the disease has been characterized as the “yuppie flu,” it is more common in poor people. It occurs in all racial groups and ages but most of us are women—around 80 percent. Hidden in these numbers is astonishing suffering. But public health agencies have treated chronic fatigue syndrome as if it were the jest the name suggests.