The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is devastating. It takes away the fundamental right to determine when and if to become a parent - a hallmark of self-determination for women across our country.
This decision harms women. It constrains freedom and undermines the dignity of women everywhere. This decision most impacts black, brown, poor women, and pregnant people. On average, these women lack access to high levels of health care, secure jobs, and support for their wellbeing, childcare, and other needs. Our health care system and economy do not work as well for women of color as they do for their affluent white women peers.
Ten people were murdered in Buffalo on Saturday, 9 of them for no other reason than because they were Black. We cannot let that essential fact be lost to us. In the coming days, there will be questions about the killer’s access to weapons and his mental state, but we cannot allow those questions to obscure the fact that racial hatred was at the core of this crime against humanity.
White supremacy poses a clear threat to the freedom and security of all Americans, especially Black Americans, all people of color, people of non-Christian faiths, and historically marginalized groups. Those killed in Buffalo were shopping at their neighborhood grocery store in a weekend ritual familiar to most Americans. Others have been killed in recent years as they worshipped at churches, mosques, and synagogues. Our government institutions are not immune. Public buildings have been breached, bombed, and vandalized, most prominently on January 6, 2021. These acts of violence share a common origin – a violent ideology that no longer lurks in the shadows of American life.
We are grateful there has been some measure of accountability for the murder of George Floyd, but we recognize we have a long way to go as a nation to ensure that Black men are treated with full humanity in the United States.
The way our systems marginalize and discriminate against Black people begins in their mothers’ womb. Studies have shown that Black boys as young as four years old are viewed by adults as "dangerous." Our society treats young Black boys like adults, ascribing malice and intent to normal childhood behaviors, and paving the way for the harsh discipline and violence they endure throughout their lives. Black boys are suspended, expelled, and otherwise disciplined in school at a disproportionate rate compared to their white peers. They are tracked into less rigorous courses during school that will make them less likely to attend college. Upon entering adulthood, having a name that "sounds Black" on a job application is a fast-track to the reject pile. Black men are more likely to be victims of violence, to be homeless, and to be pushed into a criminal justice system that rarely grants them justice.
Americans have decisively called for change. The highest turnout of voters in a generation, including significant numbers of new voters, have made their voices heard in all corners of our country. Young voters, Black voters – especially Black women, Latinx voters, voters spanning the diversity of the AAPI community, and voters from rural communities have spoken. A new electorate is emerging. Today we take a step closer to becoming the multiracial democracy that America aspires to be.
We extend our appreciation first and foremost to the millions of voters who made their voices heard. We are in awe of the tenacity on display to exercise the right to vote in a pandemic – and the professionalism of election officials, poll workers, and lawyers to ensure that all votes are counted. We celebrate that the democratic process worked. We must also do more to make voting easier for all Americans.