Sunday, March 1, 2009

classism by any other name?

I'm going to piggy back off of Brittany's latest blog. First, a big thumbs up to Brittany for going on camera and talking about reproductive justice, abortion, the leadership group and being open to a whole new experience. We filmed the first segment yesterday and will finish up in a couple of weeks. Why is this important even when others don't think it is? Well, quite simply....we have a responsibility to bring the marginalized to the center. The experience in Whole Foods cemented this!

After the filming we stopped at whole foods to eat dinner and debrief. And yes, I pulled out my tax exempt letter, unfolded it and presented it to the cashier. I explained that it was tax exempt. She looked at it confused and then stated, "is this a link card or something?" I responded, "it's tax exempt".

This is what we are talking about. Why would this woman say that? It wasn't a card and the letter said State of Illinois Tax Exempt. One can only assume it was really because we were black and in Evanston. I don't like to believe it so I'm going to say she was ignorant and close minded.

Which brings me to the leadership group. On a daily basis these women....women I serve....are ignored, disrespected, neglected, and not given a chance. On a daily basis the women in the leadership group gather the strength to face a world that doesn't see them....a society that wants to regulate their bodies, punish them with restrictive laws and refuse to support them. Every day the women I serve represent the movement from the sidelines because the mainstream organizations don't believe in their leadership and refuse to respect their opinions. Yet, every day these women continue on. Continue the struggle for freedom on their own terms in their own lives. They do this work with us, while continuing to go home to unsafe neighborhoods full of chaos and negativity.

I am so humbled to know these women I can't even begin to express it. As I watched Brittany's clips and listened to her say that she is doing this work for her daughters, I cried. My life has been transformed by these women. I can't do this work any other way.

I do this work for them.


ps. shout out to Shay on her filming yesterday too.....she kept it together but I saw the tears welling up!

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