Another writer for the Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II, wrote ANOTHER essential piece (y’all, we’ve got a lot of reading for you today, it’s time to BOOKMARK some things) for the Atlantic in 2017 titled “The Quintessential Americanness of Juneteenth.” We’re gonna assume you all have some understanding of Juneteenth but in case you’re new: it marks the OFFICIAL OFFICIAL end of slavery (a million asterisks) in America. We worded that supremely weirdly because the actual official end of slavery was supposed to come with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. And you know the OFFICIAL end of slavery was December 6, 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment. But you know how white people drag their feet.
I mean, it’s important for every white person to really think about this. That amendment was in December and WE ARE CELEBRATING THE END OF SLAVERY FUCKING SIX MONTHS LATER. That’s when Texas GOT AROUND TO being like, “OK yeah, this is real. Sorry not sorry for the last six months and also the last few centuries.”
And in a lot of ways, this liberation is still belated, especially if we’re talking about reproductive justice and yes, today, we are talking about REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE!
Being a black woman seeking reproductive healthcare in America is also a huge health risk. Reproductive justice warriors for decades have been demanding black maternal healthcare and black maternal mortality be taken seriously. And as more and more women die in tragedies that are ENTIRELY preventable, their justice is also belated. It still hasn’t come.
And it is with all this in mind that we watched our superstar Board Member Dr. Monica McLemore testify before a house committee today on the necessity of Title X funding. Dr. McLemore graciously defined Reproductive Justice (AGAIN) and explained the urgency of keeping Title X funding intact for people of color. And then she had to listen to some people who are NOT DOCTORS rail on about like how abortion is sometimes hard and maybe we should just all use the rhythmn method because that’s science too.
Because justice and liberation is belated, and because no one is getting their 40 acres and a mule any time soon, it’s up to allies to donate (their time or money) to reproductive justice groups who do the work every damn day. Groups like Sistersong, The Feminist Women’s Health Center, and the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund.