Over the past couple of days I have been watching all the commentary given on the President’s speech regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. In my opinion, the position that our President has taken is a bold step to move this country forward and to set the wheels of transformation in motion for global justice. Many people have become distracted by the rhetoric, spending their time and energy talking more about what his statement means for his future as President rather than the essence of the message which is a call to responsible action. I believe that there ought to be some acknowledgement for President Obama for having the courage to take a stand on a highly contentious issue. It takes tremendous courage and integrity to publically confront political regimes and special interests in order to take a stand for justice, goodness and righteousness. Taking a stand for that which is in the interest of all humankind is never an easy thing to do, particularly when it will be unpopular with particular interest group. Like the President I think it is high time that we, the Black women and men in these United Stated of America take a stand take a risk for something bigger and greater than ourselves.
It is time to stand in the gap and speak out concerning the state of Black women and reproductive justice. It is time to take a vocal and active stand against the political efforts to continue to govern our decision-making ability from their perceived vantage point. Our choice to become mothers or how we manage, care for our bodies or understand our sexuality is not their right to control. I quote my sister Tonya Williams from Sparks for Reproductive Justice Now who says;
“Black women have been at the forefront of all major social justice movements in the United States ranging from abolitionist movement to the civil rights and women’s rights movement to fundamentally transforming the reproductive rights movement.”
It is important that we are reminded of the rich tradition of Black women Civil Rights leaders like Coretta Scott King, Ella Baker, Dorothy Irene Height and Fannie Lou Hamer, who not only believed but exercised their belief by confronting the political regime, standing in the gap and fighting for justice, goodness and righteousness. Black Women are capable of making critical, personal, and just choices about our bodies, our families, and our communities even under the most hostile social, political and economic circumstances. It is in this tradition that the reproductive justice movement is rooted, and it is in this legacy that we renounce all attempts to vilify and shame the agency, power, and morality of Black women. It is high time that we reconsider our efforts in time and energy spent not to be distracted or side barred by religiosity or fear driven by social and emotional anxiety. Now is the time to be on the move towards a strategy to debunk, dismiss and disallow the right-wing rhetoric by establishing a new narrative worthy of the fullness and dignity of the legacy and future of Black Women and their Reproductive Choice. May all humanity stand up for justice, and may justice roar like a mighty river.
Rev. Antoinette D. Kemp the Georgia Consultant for the National Black Church Initiative and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in Washington, DC. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She earned an MDiv degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, and currently serves as a Corporate/Industrial Chaplain, for Cobb-Vantress, Inc. (a division of Tyson Corporation) Rev. Kemp is the Executive Director for African Pilgrimages Inc.,