Let’s be clear.
Black women did not expect 45 to address the disadvantages that plague the Black community, let alone the Black female population.
While Trump focused on immigration, his new tax plan, the economy’s growth, North Korea and the opioid crisis–Black women continue to be underserved in the following areas of economy, health and social justice.
- Black women are still paid less than their white male counterparts, earning less than 60 cents to the dollar of their white male counterparts.
- Black women make up half of female homicide victims–many are killed by current or former partners and husbands.
- Black women make up the majority of the female prison population at an alarming 44 percent.
- Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from complications related to pregnancy, according to the CDC.
But there are statistics that counter the above and remind us that we are making gains in the aforementioned areas as well.
- The rate of Black women affected by HIV fell 42 percent in 2015, even though we are still the highest affected group compared to women of other ethnicities.
- A large majority of women of color were voted into office during the 2017 election cycle, putting Black women at the helm of leadership across several states, cities, townships and city councils.
- Black women are the most educated group in the United States, and are enrolled in college at a higher rate than any other group, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Here are some moments from the SOTU that reminded the world of the undying strength of women of color.
1. CBC members came united–one nation under Black.
Members wore Kente cloth in a direct response to President Trump’s “shithole” comment where he questioned why people from African countries Haiti migrated to the United States. And while everyone watching immediately knew CBC members were making a unified statement, it was Rep. Maxine Waters who confirmed the traditional cloth was worn to protest Trump in an interview with The Grio.
“The whole idea was to show support for Africa, particularly after the President called Africa and Haiti s-holes,” she said. “We thought it would be important for us to demonstrate our support in some way.”
2. A eulogy for Recy.
CDC members also wore Black and small pins with the name “Recy” on it to honor forgotten rape victim, Recy Taylor. In 1944, Taylor was kidnapped, blindfolded and raped at gunpoint by six white men. Her story will soon be told in a forthcoming documentary, “The Rape of Recy Taylor.” Taylor died on December 28, 2017 and never saw her tormentors brought to justice. Many have called Taylor’s name in the fight for visibility during the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movement to honor the silenced victims of sexual assault and harassment. Taylor’s niece Rose Gunter was in attendance as a guest of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman who produced the pins worn on Tuesday night.
3. Finding strength in times of grief.
Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado and Robert Mickens attended Tuesday night’s address as guests of Trump. During his speech, the visibly distraught parents who lost their teen daughters in 2016, openly grieved for their children.
Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, are two Long Island teens who were senselessly murdered in September 2016 by members of MS-13, a Central American gang that lies at the top of the Trump administration’s agenda. Members were labeled as a “violent international street gang” by a 2004 FBI task force created to investigate their activity.
In an interview with The New York Times, Evelyn Rodriguez said the following about her decision to attend the SOTU “I’m not here for anybody’s political gain,” Ms. Rodriguez added. “I just want what’s right to be done. Everybody should put their political agenda aside and think about what’s going on in our country.”
In the face of such tragedy, Rodriguez used her interview to keep the spotlight on justice for her daughter, not the skewed agenda of Trump.
4. Sen. Kamala Harris brought the heat.
The junior senator from California did the press rounds after the SOTU to dismantle Trump’s irresponsible linking between immigration reform, gang activity and The Dream Act.
She also echoed what everyone was thinking, tweeting and meme-ing last night when she reminded Trump who’s really to thank for all of his progress.
5. Rep. Maxine Waters and Angela Rye will gather Trump together on BET.
Waters took her talents just a few paces away from Trump’s address to host a “State of the Union Clapback” event for millennials, where dozens of congressional members stopped by to express why they were protesting the SOTU.
The long tenured California congresswoman and Rye will take on Trump’s address during Wednesday night’s episode of ”Angela Rye’s State of the Union.” The show will also feature a panel of strategists and activists who will discuss the Trump administration’s policies and its perverse effects on communities of color.
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