ChoiceWords Blog

4 reasons coronavirus is hitting black communities so hard

Preston Mitchum, policy director for URGE, a nonprofit that advocates for liberal policy issues, said the employment opportunities available for many black people often put them at greater risk of being disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus. “Black communities are not socially distancing less than other communities and if they are, it is likely because many of us are essential workers or working gig jobs to sustain our living. These jobs require more in-person interaction.”

Why does Black America have more COVID-19 deaths? Racism.

“If we’d let social media tell it, young Black people are testing positive compared to other communities because we are socially distancing less in an effort to have fun with our friends and loved ones. While this may be true for a very small subset, this argument goes out the window when we understand the mental, physical, and emotional harm inflicted by structural racism — especially in healthcare. Black communities are not intentionally socially distancing less than other communities. Those who work essential jobs or are in the gig economy are disproportionately Black. For these communities, social distance is a privilege reserved only for those who can do so while still earning a living.”

Right Wing Protesters Are Not Now, Nor Ever Will Be, Rosa Parks

“These protesters are not Rosa Parks. They aren’t liberating anyone. They are spreading diseases as they have done since Europeans invaded the Americas more than 500 years ago. Given this selfish, dangerous, genocidal behavior, I fear many more Black, Indigenous, and Latinx lives will be snatched away.”

Here’s who we erase when Roe v. Wade is just about women’s rights

“Patriarchy and misogyny is absolutely holding women back and actively holding back trans and non-binary folks at the same time. Our patriarchal system is about keeping cis men in power,” said Alexis Cole, policy director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, who focuses on reproductive health care in the South and advocates for queering reproductive justice spaces. “In light of Kennedy’s retirement, that also shows us the importance, given that Kennedy was an important vote on abortion and LGBTQ rights. We know our fates are sealed together here,” she added.

Six Things You Can Learn From A Woman Who Has Fought For Abortion Rights For 18 Years

Leading the push for reproductive justice are women like Johnson, who’s been working with URGE, a youth-driven organization centered on gender, reproductive rights, and sexual health issues, since 1999. “This administration has already brought a number of daunting challenges to our doorstep,” Johnson tells Bustle. “But women, people of color, young people, immigrants, we know what it’s like to fight impossible odds. We have to continue to be vigilant and resist and protest and dissent and expose the lies and hypocrisy and continue to take action because we really do have power both to change hearts and minds and to change policies.”

U.S. House Votes To Permanently Ban Taxpayer Funding For Abortion

Kierra Johnson, executive director of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE), also noted that the bill would disproportionately affect women who are already at a disadvantage. “Black women in our country are already suffering the harms of bans on abortion coverage, and rather than improving our access to necessary health services, the new Congress is obsessed with restricting abortion and doubling down on the Hyde Amendment,” she said. “Americans are more supportive than ever of keeping abortion legal, available, and covered by insurance. Shame on these out-of-touch politicians.”

Democrats Ready Congressional Resistance to Looming Anti-Choice Attacks

“He made it clear that he was going to wage war on women and on issues of abortion rights and sexual health and bodily autonomy,” Johnson said. “We know we’ve got a fight ahead of us, and we’re committed to engaging in it. We’re going to work like hell to continue to move the needle on repealing Hyde, and we’re going to be even more ferocious in our fight for justice at the state level.”

What It’s Like to Be A Pro-Choice Activist in an Anti-Abortion State

Kierra Johnson is also frustrated at the way red states get written off in conversations about abortion. Johnson, who is originally from Georgia, is the Executive Director of Urge, an organization that gets young people involved with activism around reproductive and gender justice, particularly in Midwestern and Southern states. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative misconceptions about who Southerners are: We need to be saved, we are somehow backwards, we are a lost cause,” Johnson said. “The reality is that the South has a long history of powerful organizing. We need people who do this work not despite where they are from, but precisely because of where they are from.”

Congress members casually compare abortion to slavery, black genocide, and killing puppies

Later, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) invoked the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision to suggest — as many Republicans and conservatives often do — that abortion is like slavery because women treat fetuses like “property.” Johnson’s response to that idea, which again sparked applause from the room, was: “It’s interesting that we’re bringing up slavery in this space. When you own somebody’s decision-making, you own them.” “We are not simple-minded. We are not being duped.” Johnson continued. “The majority of women who have abortions are parents. They care. They care about their families.”