“Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
— Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,” Sister Outsider
My younger brother is 16-years-old. He is six feet, four inches of gentle, timid, and awkward. He loves baseball and breakfast food, family and faith. He is quiet and complex, an introvert who often laughs with me about our frustrations with growing up in a small home with six people.
But in our Orange County hometown, he is feared. A Black teen with a physical presence that far eclipses his white and East Asian peers, he bears the psychic toll of being seen as a walking threat before being seen as a boy. He knows the police are not on his side. He is right; every 28 hours a black person is killed extrajudicially by law enforcement or vigilantes. And that terrifies me. Keep reading »
A teen girl in North Carolina kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone but her boyfriend, then buried their newborn in her backyard. Police said the infant appeared to have bled to death because the umbilical cord was cut improperly.
Ashley Reed from Louisburg gave birth alone to her 8.5 lb. daughter, but texted her 18-year-old boyfriend through the birth. After the infant died — it’s not clear whether the baby was intentionally or accidentally killed — Ashley placed the newborn in a grocery bag and buried it in her yard. The body was found in late June; a funeral was held for the baby girl last week. Keep reading »
A world without abortion is unsustainable for Black women. The barriers that exist to basic healthcare make it a fundamental necessity to have the constitutional right and unobstructed access to terminate a pregnancy we cannot carry to term. If you hold the belief that a person should not exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy under any circumstances, I challenge you to read to the last paragraph. Open yourself up to the possibility that there is more room for discussion, more opportunities for compassion, and that a world can exists where allowing Black women to choose for themselves, devoid of judgment, when to be pregnant.
Every day we make dozens of decisions: what to wear, what to eat, and with whom to spend our precious time, among other things. Some of us are privileged to have more decision-making power than others. And all decisions are made in the context of our everyday lives; where we live, what we look like, into which circumstances we were born, etc. One consequence of decision-making is being given the benefit of the doubt by the people around you; that is, being trusted that you are deciding for yourself the best thing to do. Unfortunately, this value isn’t extended to everyone, especially not Black women who still bear the burden of genuine mistrust. Keep reading »
I was a freshman in college when I found myself Googling “can Vitamin C induce your period?” There had been some condom-less sex and, surprise surprise, worries over a late period. I wasn’t about to head to my university’s health care office, which offered a Band-Aid and some Tylenol for pretty much every malady. I may not have known what could have helped me out, but I knew that neither a Band-Aid nor headache reducer was the answer. And so, I turned to Dr. Google and was immediately overwhelmed by all the results that showed up.
I had no idea which links were legitimate and which could have landed me in serious trouble. In the end, I did take a huge dose of Vitamin C and my period arrived shortly after. Whether it was due to coincidence (probably) or not, I’ll never know. Now I’m older, a bit wiser, and have an IUD firmly placed in my uterus to prevent any unplanned pregnancies. Yet, with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, I can’t help but wonder if more people may now find themselves in the same situation as I did almost 15 years ago. Keep reading »