|Planned Parenthood South Texas knows that access to health care alone isn’t enough for our patients and their families to create the lives they want. We partner with a number of community organizations who work to advance progressive causes that affect the lives of our patients. We asked them to reflect on the results of the 2020 election and what they expect for 2021. Here are their responses. All views and opinions are those of the authors.|
Rev. Erika L. Forbes
Outreach and Faith Coordinator
Texas Freedom Network
It has been a long road, and we know that Black womxn like Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells have always been at the front of the work for our freedoms and movements to build power. Forty-five years before we were granted the right to vote, Black womxn were there leading, marching, and fighting, for the passage of the 19th Amendment, even though we didn’t receive the same attainment of the right to vote as our white counterparts. With this election cycle, Black womxn continued to organize fighting for liberation. For generations Black womxn have been the strongest voting block and have stood in the forefront of movement work, advancing the agenda of Black womxn, which advances the agenda of all womxn.
That said, I can thoughtfully welcome Joe Biden into the office of the 46th Presidency of the United States and I am also taking note as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office; a multi-racial and Black identified woman in this role is a powerful, historic first. I can see this next year starting with looking forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with this Black woman at the right hand of the presidential seat. Harris’ power and influence can be crucial in addressing critical issues impacting Black womxn. It is worth noting that the efforts led by Black womxn in mobilizing and educating thousands of new voters nationwide played a pivotal role in the Biden/Harris victory.
Black womxn consistently show up and rally in solidarity with all womxn, even when 55% of them still chose to maintain a vested interest in their own fragility through the privilege of their votes.
Regardless of the occupant in the White House, I believe we will continue to rise up, relentlessly standing against anything that expresses itself as harm to Black and all womxn. I believe we will continue working to hold legislative officials accountable in supporting the reproductive justice agenda that foregrounds our movement work. We will continue to advocate for Black and all womxn as they choose to have safe births and live to raise their children. We will continue to respond to inappropriate and archaic laws that hamper womxn accessing the appropriate reproductive health care they need, including medical and safe abortions. We will continue fighting for womxn because when womxn advance, the whole community advances. When a community advances there is a ripple out across the nation and into the global community. It starts with us.
As we rejoice in this momentous victory to our democracy, we know that for black womxn, our fight is far from over. Although we are tired, our determination has been refreshed to lead a critical dialogue with the new administration addressing the harm inflicted on our people, our lives, our spirits, and our bodies throughout the last four years. As we brace ourselves for the backlash sure to come from the opposition, we will continue standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies and fight because our lives and our futures depend on us saving ourselves.
Despite the vicious attempts to silence our voices, the epic failure to protect the American people from the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, months of civil uprisings, years of chaos and discord, this election, the will of the people has spoken loud and clear. Through our fight against the relentless barriers in accessing our human, civic and constitutional rights, from voting, to accessing healthcare, to achieving reproductive freedom, this election, the unity and power of the voice of the people prevails. Today we stand together, united on the right side of history.
San Antonio Clean Energy Organizer
Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter
The plane is no longer flying into the side of the mountain. That’s how a colleague of mine described the recent election of Joe Biden. We're still flying dangerously low. The airbags are out. The situation is not good, to be clear. But there is time to clear the smoke from the cockpit and make one new attempt at a safe landing. Whereas Trump had committed himself to unwinding every environmental health and safety safeguard in sight, some of Biden's first actions will involve rolling back the rollbacks, as it were. Is this progress? If the key elements of Biden's climate plan come into force, if more progressive voices in Congress push that plan even further, it could be.
Here in San Antonio, we've been fighting to shut down our last coal plant by 2030. It's driven us to loggerheads with a resistant City-owned CPS Energy and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and required the launch of a people's petition to force that shutdown. While we could remove 8 million metric tons of climate pollution with a successful petition and May vote (nearly half of San Antonio's total emissions), the Biden plan is about scale: It promises to close all the coal plants in the United States just five years later. But a dedicated oil and gas lobby remains on Capitol Hill and around the country.
More significant than that are the tens of millions of Americans who not only refuse to accept century-old science explaining why dragging carbon out of the ground and burning it into the sky is a bad idea, but who could actually care less even if they did understand its full ramifications. Working for climate justice means understanding and responding to the reality that those who are least responsible for the climate crisis suffer beyond their share. It means correcting the cruel reality that people of color in the so-called “Global South” are punished disproportionately by extreme storms, for example, compared to those of us in the more affluent nations . . . or that our heavily militarized border privileges those on this side against those on that … just as San Antonio's Southsiders suffer more from coal pollution, extreme heat events, and lack of medical care, reducing their lifespans by decades compared to some inhabitants of more affluent Northside ZIP Codes.
So we didn't hit the mountain. That's a great thing. But I recall what a former Republican mayor in Texas turned anti-fracking activist once told me. He said he believed there was something particular to the conservative mind that required a personal negative impact—or negative impact to a close family member—to motivate political action against big employers like oil and gas. Consider that this group is among those most insulated from the negative impacts of the climate crisis, it's no surprise this fight is running down the wire. The only way we'll know if the election mattered will be found in how we spend the years we have been granted, still floating in the air, airbags dancing like skeletons.
Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley
After a long, challenging time, our nation begins the transition into the power of President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and we Tías and Abuelas are swimming in a sea of emotions:
Relief, that the administration that turned our immigration policies into an inhumane horror story for thousands of suffering asylum seekers at our southern border has been repudiated and will soon be replaced.
Anger and grief over the continued suffering and injustice of asylum-seekers, which we’ve observed first-hand for the past two and a half years.
Joy that Americans went to the polls and voted out a vile administration responsible for heartless, even lethal, decisions about the lives of immigrants and people of color throughout our nation.
And Hope, as this new administration promises the end of MPP and a reasoned and welcoming approach to immigration and asylum.
The Biden administration calls for welcoming asylum seekers and other immigrants, for keeping families together, and for opening opportunities to contribute to our communities. We intend to join with other immigrant-support organizations in holding this new administration to these bold new, humane policies.
We expect the Biden administration to end MPP (the oddly-named Migrant Protection Protocols), also known as Remain in Mexico.
Along with our friends in Matamoros and Reynosa we are seeing light at the end of a very dark passage. May we be among the guides leading them to this light.
Community Organizer - Organizadora
Texas Organizing Project
Since the primary we have seen the unrest of our communities due to police brutality, we’ve seen the death toll piling up because of a global pandemic, we’ve seen our teachers fighting tooth and nail to ensure they have protective equipment to safely teach our kids, we have seen nurses crying on live TV about not having masks, globes or hearing folks stating that the pandemic is a hoax as they take their last breath because of COVID-19.
Thankfully, we have seen how this election played out and we are happy about the outcome . . . NO MORE FEAR MONGERING COMING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
However, our job is merely starting. We have a newly elect who is still refusing to acknowledge the pain, suffering, and oppression that black and brown communities still suffer. Refusing to acknowledge police violence in the black community is a form of racism and insisting in giving more money to the police department rather than divert funding to education, healthcare, and jobs in low-income black and brown communities should not be something we accept.
Now, after years of resisting, we need to stand up and fight back. Fight for issues that are important to our communities. Medicare for all will ensure that folks who are facing the brunt of this pandemic, specifically black and brown folks, are able to afford not just COVID treatment, but treatment to illness that we have now seem to forgotten because of this pandemic, it will allow immigrant folks to have access to needed healthcare that otherwise they would have not.
And although the new president has indicated that he will fight for the Affordable Care Act, we must insist for better, this is not enough. 27% of our population still does not have access to healthcare, over 60% of bankruptcies are due to medical debt, and our immigrant community do not have access to the ACA subsidies and even a public option will not allow our immigrant folks to partake of this benefit, we must ask and fight for more. In a time where states dictate our healthcare outcomes we must pass a law that will help us enforce the law nationwide and will protect our most vulnerable from debt, or having to choose between medication and rent.
We must fully fund abortion care, which is healthcare. This should also be a priority especially when states continuously are pushing for laws that eradicates funding to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and education on abortion should be a key part of that funding.
A path to citizenship is definitely not the solution. Instead, we must immediately provide full citizenships and rights to all 11 million immigrants who, despite the misinformation of both parties, do pay taxes and contribute to our economy, and end the fear that both parties give to our immigrant population.
We must increase wages nationally to ensure no family goes without, and no one working 40 hours a week would live in poverty.
We must fight for environmental justice to ensure that our future generation has a clean and habitable world. We need to ensure we have fair housing so our communities are not displaced or in fear of losing their homes or apartments because of a pandemic.
This does not happen and will not happen by sitting back and hoping that the democrats in charge will change the direction of this country but instead, understand that the power lies within each and every one of us and nothing will change unless we all stand up and fight for the change we want.
Frederick Douglas said it best; Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will.
The time of resisting is over. We must now demand.
Follow us on:
Want to show your support?
Need health care?