Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: race

It’s More than ‘Just a Hairstyle’

So, I want to start off by saying that I’m sorry for jumping on the bandwagon real quick and talking about the current media phenomenon; Miley Cyrus and her VMA fiasco. There are many aspects of her performance as host of the MTV Video Music Awards that we could analyze and call problematic, but I would like to just focus on those long, blonde, dreadlock extensions for a minute. Some may not understand why the internet has erupted with so much negativity towards Miley for her choice of hairstyle, and I would like to talk about the reasons for this outrage. I would also like to preface this by saying that this isn’t just about one person and this definitely isn’t just about hair. This is about years of oppression… Read more »

On Solidarity and the Movement for Black Lives

Two weeks ago, an anti-choice group released heavily-edited undercover videos aimed at discrediting and potentially dismantling Planned Parenthood. As the country’s largest provider of reproductive health care, this campaign to take down Planned Parenthood could have disastrous effects on the millions who need access to abortion and other healthcare services. The movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice swiftly rallied to Planned Parenthood’s defense against these malicious attack. Here at URGE, we did the same and were one of 92 organizations that signed on to a letter to Congress in support of Planned Parenthood’s work. Our movements  worked quickly to stand in solidarity against these attacks — that’s a good thing — but we also hope we can use this as a moment to bring our solidarity to another vital… Read more »

Being A Black Woman in the Reproductive Justice Movement

I recently asked one of my black female friends about her activism. “Why don’t you feel connected to reproductive justice and reproductive health work?” Her response was, “Access to abortion is important, but we are getting killed for simply existing. I want to focus on that.” I understood where she was coming from, because I definitely felt that exasperation too. Like many of us, I was not always familiar with the concept of reproductive justice or even feminism. These were terms I had loosely heard about before, and I vaguely remember in high school reading a Seventeen magazine article about it, but that was the gist of my exposure to it at that time. I grew up in the South—southern hospitality, really amazing sweet tea, and mouth-watering soul food are… Read more »

Pregnancy and Incarceration: Intersectional Justice

Reproductive justice within prison communities does not get discussed nearly enough. People who are pregnant and incarcerated are subject to many injustices. These injustices are particularly felt by low income communities and people of color. This week there was a workshop held at my school to talk about these issues hosted by Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SURF), our URGE branch. They write, “The mainstream pro-choice movement focuses on protecting the right to choose abortion, but the right to carry your pregnancy to term safely and with full agency is often overlooked. However, in the United States today, the personhood of pregnant people is systemically under attack. Fetal personhood legislation, the “War on Drugs,” and the medical industrial complex all chip away at the humanity of pregnant persons, and these… Read more »

What are the Politics of Desirability?

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.”  — Audre Lorde Narratives about beauty, intelligence, and kindness have mostly been centralized on white people. Psychological experiments like The Doll Test have shown that from a… Read more »

Reflecting on #BlackGirlsRock

View image | gettyimages.com Last night, I watched the airing of the Black Girls Rock Award Show on BET. It was lovely seeing the women I look to as current icons of black women excellence in the world of entertainment. The quirky Tracee Ellis Ross, the funky Janelle Monae, the soulful Jill Scott,  the mesmerizing Jada Pinkett, and the intelligent First Lady Michelle Obama. In the days leading up to the event. other hashtags like #allgirlsrock and #whitegirlsrock, emerged. Apparently, these same hashtags emerged two years ago in the lead up to the previous Black Girls Rock Award Show. The President and CEO of Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond, addressed the hashtag in an article titled, “Exclusive: Black Girls Rock! Founder Hits Back at Insulting #whitegirlsrock“. She states: “As a… Read more »

Putting #Women on the Map

In recognition of Women’s Herstory Month,  I wanted to acknowledge an organization called Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, and Knowledge (SPARK). Similar to URGE, one of SPARK’s initiatives is to develop and foster online dialogue to promote advocacy and activism. One of SPARK’s primary goals are to combat the negative sexualization of women and teach women about activism using the range of media at our disposal. As I scrolled through my Feedly, I came across an article titled “SPARK And Google Created An App That Highlights The History Women Made Right Beneath Your Feet“. On some days, Google celebrates historical moments, upcoming events, and political/social figures using a Google Doodle. It got me thinking. I never really payed attention to the lack of diversity in terms of race and color on… Read more »

Fraternities and Guilt by Association

I’m sure by now most people have seen or read about the video that was taken of members of the SAE chapter at Oklahoma University chanting racial slurs. There have been countless articles written on it, tons of media coverage, and lots of social media interaction. The hashtag #SAEHatesMe has been used to talk about all sorts of issues relating to racism in Greek life. After this video surfaced, OU president David Boren issued a statement condemning the actions of this group. I should applaud the administration for their swift action, but I also think that making a statement that “Real Sooners are not racist” is a little bit ironic. However, the statement issued was undoubtedly further than the University had to go to deal with the problem, and going… Read more »

Black Lives Matter

Last February I attended Take Root, a reproductive conference that serves activists and allies from red states, over the course of three days on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. It was a brilliant and affirming experience. One panel stood out the most. On this panel, a pair of black midwives recounted experiences providing prenatal and delivery care to black women. One of the midwives talked about how cultural sensitivity is extremely important in her work. Apparently in the eighteen-odd months between Trayvon Martin’s murder and Zimmerman’s acquittal, she saw that the number of stress-induced complications drastically rose in black women’s pregnancies. Not only that, but several of the black women in her care had nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, and insomnia. The midwives discussed the absolute necessity of holistic… Read more »