Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States voided key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law that was enacted to protect African American citizens from a wide variety of voter disenfranchisement strategies. The court decided that the Section 5, which requires 15 states with a history of racist voter discrimination to obtain federal approval before making changes to election processes, is no longer necessary because, in a nutshell, they believe racist electoral disenfranchisement is over. This ruling dealt a serious blow to the voting rights of people of color in the United States, and therefore to the democracy of everyone in the nation. Curiously, though, instead of seeing people rallying together to have a national conversation and begin building coalitions across communities and issues to do the work that will be necessary to address the problems the ruling will inevitably cause, what I witnessed was this:
It’s easy to think that feminism is a singular cause. It’s the fight for women to make a space open to women…no, not only a space but a normalcy for women’s rights, their stories, their truths and their testimony. But not everything regarding women can be so easily boxed. Minority rights and how women of color are viewed, is as poignant a cause, which needs as much, if not more attention. Minority women have a double burden, they face both racism and sexism. They are shining heroes who must rise above privilege, the privilege of both white men and women, and the privilege that men hold in general. There are many women who can bear witness to this double binding, who have fought and spoken to loosen their shackles and…Open Wide the Freedom Gates. A memoir by Dorothy Height, it is more than just her story but the story of hundreds and thousands of women, mostly black, who pushed, marched, cried, spoke, prayed, sang, preached, and rallied, for the cause of women and civil rights. This post is dedicated to the testimony of Dorothy Height.