So I stop by one of the group members apartment last night to drop her off a bus pass and some food. I was dead tired! But I had to see her. She is really important....we all are. And that's why the women are staying connected in a way that has never been done before. I truly love these women. They are like my sisters, daughters, friends, family. I really care about them. And I want to see them do better, be better, have better. More importantly, I do accept them for who they are and where they are.
So I called her yesterday...or actually returned her call because she kept her promise and called me yesterday am. I was suppose to take her and the baby out to dinner and to talk. However, I was so tired I told her that I was still coming, but would bring her food instead. Ran by Wendy's (not the best choice, but that is what she wanted....I did get the baby (she's two) chocolate milk) and then to her place. We sat around and talked a bit. She is 23 years, a sweetheart and a young mother. The concern she has for her little girl is really evident. I'm proud of her and how she takes care of her little girl.
But do you know what was running through my mind the whole time? Some people are against this leadership group. Some people out there didn't want me to connect to the women that we served in this type of capacity. We have lost donors that don't believe we should be supportive AFTER a woman has an abortion! Some thought that we should just pay for the procedure and that's it. The typical band-aid solution - not get to the root of the issue right? So tell me how do we get these women to the table with us then? Maybe that is the point. Those that disagree don't want these young, poor women of color at the table. I just happen to be on the opposite side of the fence. I believe they should be there and have the right to be there.
And in order to get them to the table....I feed them and give them bus passes. In order for them to participate, I show them how much I truly value their time by giving them a small stipend. That small stipend may get them through payday....or help keep their lights on. That meal may be the only one they've had. But they can sit there and engage and talk about reproductive justice because they are not hungry....and they are respected!
I guess I get it because I was on public assistance receiving food stamps and surviving month to month on barely nothing. Yup, I was 21 in my own place trying to make it on my own. My son who is turning 20 years come August is my first born and we did our share of struggling. So I get it. And no this is not some sob story for the women in the leadership group. In fact, this is happy story...a living story....a truthful story. I want them at the table. They need to be at the table. So what that I have to feed them or give them a bus pass. So what that others don't get it. We are not doing this for pats on the back. We are doing this for survival. Women that have abortions....that make this personal decision....need some really concrete support after the fact. And if I want them to participate with me, I'm gonna help them......from my side of the fence.