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THE IMPORTANCE OF FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS IN 2021 AS A WOMAN OF COLOR

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AND WHAT WHITE WOMEN CAN DO TO HELP

Recently, the United States has been undergoing some heavy controversy over essentially every decision being made. Right now, it seems that there are no laws, bills, acts, etc., that can be passed without a fight.

A number of laws that are being developed are over women’s rights. Many people think that when we talk about women’s rights or women losing rights, we are talking about basic rights: voting, owning property, working in politics, etc. But we are actually talking about rights to choose what we do with our bodies without having to have someone else’s permission first.

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A good example of this is in many women’s clinics, if a woman is choosing to have a procedure done to prevent her from having children, the doctor will often ask for her husband’s opinion and/or consent as well, even though the procedure is not being done to his body. These are the more complex rights that women are continuing to fight for in 2021. It is important that women from every race, social class, and sexual orientation keep using their voices because this is how we will be heard. 

Recently in the state of Texas, the Heartbeat Bill was passed. The Heartbeat Bill prevents women from having an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Many women do not even know they are pregnant until eight weeks or longer.

This bill keeps a large percentage of pregnant women from getting the chance to decide whether or not to continue with their pregnancies. There are also no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Many people in the pro-life community believe this bill will nearly put an end to abortion, but I disagree. 

The Heartbeat Bill and similar laws will only raise the number children growing up in unstable environments, overpopulate the already overpopulated foster care systems, and increase unsafe abortions not done in clinics. Laws like this one are why women everywhere need to continue fighting for one another and put an end to women’s healthcare restrictions as strict as the Heartbeat Bill.

Women of color have constantly been overlooked and underestimated in the United States. Black women receive the lowest salaries compared to any other category in the workplace. The recent Coronavirus has brought more hate to Asian women specifically. Indigenious women are among the highest percentage on the missing persons list. Violence against Black Trans Women has increased dramatically in recent decades.

Steven Senne

These are all issues that need to be addressed now, yet women of color are constantly having to urge others to see the issues that they face. But it is important that women of color continue to fight and stand up for their rights and respect.

I know this is a lot to ask. You have been doing this for hundreds of years. I know you are tired of fighting for your own respect and equal treatment.

Anjay Purkait/Pacific Press/LightRocket, Getty Images

I also know as a White woman, I will never understand what you have been through and continue to go through everyday. But right now, we as women need to come together for each other and continue this fight. 

In terms of White women, it is very important that we fight alongside women of color without overshadowing them or speaking for them. Women of color should know that their voices are being heard. We need to be their allies.

Something I, as a White woman, have been doing to help standup for women of color is reading and educating myself on issues that women of color are suffering from. I do this rather than asking someone of color to tell me about it and educate me on it.

It is neither their job nor their obligation to teach us about issues we can clearly see they are going through. We must teach ourselves.