I accurately predicted that June would be a bustling month during a local connect meeting, and it has certainly lived up to that expectation. The month has been filled with various events, including festivities for Pride, honoring Juneteenth, and an enlightening conversation with the Grandmother of Juneteenth on June 14th. The list of activities has continued to grow, showcasing our community’s endless opportunities for connection and celebration.
While working on this month’s content, I need to clarify something. Although I discussed completed initiatives from a professional standpoint, the opinions and statements expressed are solely my own. It’s important to note that I have multiple roles, and in this instance, I am writing from my personal perspective, taking into account my intersecting identities.
I paused because I had intended to write a different post, but circumstances compelled me to write this one for this moment. You see, I love to write. Writing is very therapeutic and revealing. Through writing, I often lift the veil on lingering thoughts I have pushed to the side for one reason or another. This brings me to one of those lingering thoughts.
As I ascended below The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, my first of several stops on my scheduled excursion in New York City this past Friday, the news from SCOTUS broke. 196 steps to the top of the Pedestal, my travel champion spoke somberly, “It’s Official. The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.” My heart sank as a Native Texan, as an American, as a woman, and as a human who cares for others. Not because I support abortions. I don’t know for many personal reasons, including my religious beliefs, but those are mine alone. My views should never usurp the opinions of others on matters affecting their health and/or life. On Friday, June 24th, SCOTUS knowingly did just that in more than a 3rd of the country due to the “trigger laws” in effect.
As I reached the marker for 67 steps to go, I lamented at the sheer irony of our current climate in America with shrinking liberties in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Standing beneath Lady Liberty, I was not surprised, but still, I felt just a little gutted. Lady Liberty was a gift and a promise. A promise codified in our Constitution at a time when my intersectionality would have deemed me “not a person” and “without rights”. A promise through our preparation to host Dr. Opal Lee was solidified by why Juneteenth is so important in the history of America. On a personal level, I had struggled with the holiday until Dr. Lee spoke on the effects the movement created for the enslaved people in Texas. A reminder of the past, but more importantly, a hope for the future and “a celebration of liberation with the freedom to live, to marry, to have and keep our children from being sold, to travel, and so much more”, Dr. Opal Lee. A promise Justice Thomas threatens with his concurring opinion. The match has been lit, it is my hope we the Republic put out the fire in November before we find The Handmaid’s Tale a reality. Because, “I have to tell you, NONE of us are FREE until all of us are FREE”, Dr. Opal Lee.
After climbing 26 steps to the top, I felt a sense of pride. With the guidance of my ancestors, I was able to reach the peak. It was even more fulfilling that my companion and I were the only ones in the stairwell, having chosen to skip the elevator. This accomplishment was especially significant because, just a year ago, I was too sick to even attempt it, and I’m not sure I could have made it to the elevator back then.
Many believe we cannot surmount the conflicting climate seeping into our global affairs.
I disagree. I am proof positive. That is a lie!
As a united society, we have demonstrated our resilience in combatting oppressive regimes and emerging victorious. I am pleased to announce that my employer has taken a significant step in promoting women’s health by expanding our health benefits to include travel expenses for individuals living in states where women are deprived of their right to make informed decisions regarding their bodies. While we recognize that no company is flawless, we are committed to enhancing individuals’ lives and creating a better world for all. These initiatives demonstrate our efforts in moving forward toward a more promising future. Let’s persist in working together and supporting one another.
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