Membership in two marginalized groups

Breonna Taylor means something to me. When I hear say her name being called out by my fellow humans, I say her name. Those of you who do not say her name will not change your mind. You won’t look at my Instagram post and change your views about the police. Those of you voting for Trump will not see the beauty of the humble humanity begging you to just acknowledge Breonna Taylor. I can’t reside in that knowledge. I can’t live in the gutter of despair- disappointed that you don’t validate and recognize this grave injustice. I have to be me. And when I first saw the Malcolm X quote in the moments after Breonna’s killers were exonerated, I seized up with fear. Mim is a growing black woman. She could be sleeping in her bed and have police enter her home and shoot her dead. The result would be the same. This happens often. Black women are cheated by our justice system everyday. Just like Breonna, if Mim was murdered in her bed by police, the courts would decide the only wrongdoing was the shots that fired into her neighbors’ drywall. The dehumanization of that decision. Drywall is worth more than a black woman. How can that even be possible. Why aren’t we all storming Kentucky? What lazy jack asses we are all to sit in our homes and allow our government to value drywall over Breonna. For this and in this moment, I hate us all.

Breonna was an EMT and sweet 26 year old who played cards with her aunts and liked watching movies. The police killed her when their job was to protect her.

“Working in health care is so rewarding. It makes me feel so happy when I know I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. I’m so appreciative of all the staff that has helped my uncle throughout this difficult time and those that will continue to make a difference in his life.” the words of Breonna Taylor

What more should Breonna have done so that you would consider her valuable?

My fear upon reading the Malcolm X quote is magnified because Mim is not just going to be a black woman. She will be a black woman with an intellectual disability.

The history of living with a disability in the United States has largely been one of discrimination, segregation, and exclusion from education, work, housing, and even from routine daily activities.

The Arc for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

July 23, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

This month we celebrate the anniversary of the second-most important civil rights law in American history behind only the 1964 Civil Rights Act: the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which Congress passed in 1990. But while you might hear this law lauded, you likely won’t hear about the wide-ranging efforts in recent years — mainly by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration — to undermine disability rights.

The attacks are widespread. Numerous Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act threatened Medicaid funding that allows people with disabilities to receive in-home care. The Department of Justice is no longer enforcing accessibility requirements for websites or for medical equipment, making accessing online services far more inconvenient for disabled people and making doctor’s visits more of a hassle. The administration even urged the Supreme Court not to hear a case regarding accessible vending machines. These are just some of the most recent setbacks facing disability rights.

One possible reason these efforts aren’t front-page news: they are far from surprising. Disability rights have always been under siege. In fact, every time Congress has passed a law to protect the rights of disabled people, opponents have taken to the courts and the regulatory process to weaken the law, interpret it narrowly and create loopholes.

The result is a separate and unequal system of rights, one that dates to a failed attempt by advocates to include the disabled in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Consequently, in practice, the disabled enjoy far fewer rights protections than other minority groups… The beginning of an article tilted Why disabled Americans remain Second class citizens by David Pettinicchio in the Washington Post

Mim and millions of others belong to multiple marginalized groups. I will always speak for her. I will post and protest and overshare and unearth secrets and advocate for my lifetime. Being her mom, mandates it. Being her mom demands it. Being her mom, requires it. As parents we promise to love and protect our children. And as humans we are called to love and protect all children. We marvel at a tiktok of a Golden Retriever adopting a kitten, and yet, we allow children to sit in cages.

In my last blog post, I spoke of the secret of life being that the good and bad is inextricably simultaneous. And I guess this is my second secret of life, it is all connected. We have to lift each other up to lift ourselves. Otherwise, you are stepping on someone’s neck.

This revolution that we are a part of connects all marginalized groups and recognizes both their individual value and the shared humanity in all of us. The beauty of this overwhelms my fear that it won’t happen. It is a matter of time.

(I believe that the issue of abortion could be tied in also. If we all had healthcare, if we all had education, if we all had access to birth control, if we al had justice under the law, if we all had job possibilities, if we all had food, how many abortions would we have? If we value each other and our humanity no matter the body size, the race, the gender, the identity, the orientation, the beliefs, the abilities, less fetuses would be aborted. This is a simplistic view of my stance on abortion. I believe making abortions unnecessary would save more fetuses than overturning Roe V. Wade.)

I acknowledge that I will not change a single person’s mind by this post. People will vote for Trump and my posts will not change that. A couple of people may have been in a self protective cave avoiding news and see this and think twice about the injustice of Breonna Taylor. Possibly. Maybe.

Speaking up, posting my truth, writing all my feelings and thoughts is my way. Given that I have 6 children, it is my job to at least claim space for truth of marginalized people.

I won’t be silent.

(Does that make you laugh a tiny bit? I am very talkative and the self proclaimed Mouth of the South.) Silent racism: Why speaking up becomes lethal for the collective by Chidozie Obasi

In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice.” That’s as true today as it was then. The silence of white moderates who won’t speak up when faced with extreme racism exacerbates the problems we have today. White moderates have become comfortable with their lives and don’t want to “rock the boat” or make too much noise. To white moderates, I say that your silence is aiding and abetting their agenda and your moral leadership is needed now more than ever. In the Baltimore Sun, Kevin Shard wrote The problem isn’t white nationals, it’s white moderates.

I can’t risk being the problem. I’m Mim’s mom.


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