As someone who has spent their career working to transform systems of police brutality and white supremacy, I'm tired.
As a Black mother to Black children, I'm desperate for change.
Weathering the storm of COVID-19 these last few months, I've felt like I have a flood of tears behind my eyes. Then, the stories and lives behind names like David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others made me want to open the floodgates. But I also feel too angry to cry, like there is too much work to do.
You might feel the same, or you might feel tears are all you have left. Either way, we need to create the space to grieve for our Black communities — and we also need to create the space to fight. Three of the four fired police officers who senselessly killed George Floyd have yet to be arrested. At the same time, the protesters demanding justice and accountability are being jailed, attacked, and vilified, even by the president of the United States.
White supremacy is more than lynching and white hoods — it's in the biases people hold when they see Black people and how violently those biases can play out. It's in the over‑policing of Black people, upheld through racist institutions that inflict violence without punishment under the law. It is that same policing through policies that attack our bodily autonomy that makes the promise of reproductive justice and reproductive freedom unattainable for Black people in this country. Every system that governs us — education, policing, transportation, housing, health care, and more — needs accountability. And until we can go for a walk, bird watch, live our lives, or protest the violence against us without the fear of violence, until the systems of racialized oppression and dehumanization are transformed, we won't be free.
That's why we must fight and speak out to bring injustice to light. The passion and power I see from the people organizing for justice makes me eternally hopeful.
Organizations to Support
Please join me in donating to, following, and becoming a member of organizations that support Black communities and which are deeply entrenched in racial justice work:
We Demand Justice
As we continue to watch our country's two very different, racially -divided systems of justice unfold, we must demand accountability.
We must demand an end to the inequity that continues to define every moment of life for Black America.
If we do not have the right to bodily autonomy to live our lives — or to protest the violence against our lives — without the fear of violence, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.
As we near the halfway point of 2020, as we continue to fight, we're all very aware that we are living through a historic moment. I could not be prouder to lead an organization and a community that is on that grind every day.
Take Action Now
If you are unsure where to put your passion and your power, here are some incredible ways to get involved:
- Join the Movement for Black Lives Week of Action: Visit their site to get resources, messaging and tactics for each day of the Week of Action (now to June 7) in defense of Black lives.
- Urge Congress to take action: Find your representative in the U.S. House and tell them to support Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, and Karen Bass's resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and use of excessive force.
- Support local bail funds: Support protesters in your city by finding local bail funds or donate to this charity to have your donation divided between cities across the country.
Support Black Voters Matter: Support the voter registration efforts of Black Voters Matter.
Increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities: Support BVM Capacity Building Institute and help provide training and support for community‑based organizations.
Educate yourself and the people around you: We encourage non-black allies to deepen their understanding of how racism affects us all by reading these anti‑racism resources and having conversations with your family and friends.
Alexis McGill Johnson is the Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She is a renowned social justice leader, lifelong political organizer, and a tireless advocate for reproductive rights and access to quality, affordable healthcare.