Let me tell you how reproductive oppression works: Let's take a journey. Many issues contributed to me not being able to facilitate resources and need to maintain a quality of life. Once I was able to obtain some resources, systems were created for me as a Black woman to not get ahead.
I wanted to be able to raise my children in safe environments, but because of a felony, I was only able to obtain low paying jobs to take care of them and live in environments that were not safe for myself and my children. The schools my children attended in those same environments were not able to equip my children with what they needed because they did not have enough financial resources delegated to them to help facilitate healthy outcomes.
Each paycheck completely ate up in rent, food, and transportation which did not last for the entire month. There were times I had to walk to where I needed to go with all my children in tow. Sometimes in the rain.
I was let go abruptly from my job because they found out about my diagnosis. I lost everything! I gave up, relapsed, lost my children and went back to jail. I needed help, not jail. I am not a criminal. I was sentenced to TDC but by the grace of God, I had so much back time for going in and out of jail, my sentences was discharged. With no place to go, I was homeless, motherless, childless and empty. Since I did not have an address, or an ID, I could not apply for any services. So I went back to what I knew and survived the best way I could. In 2005, I said no more. I moved back to Texas to try to regain my life back with the help of my daughter, Cherry. She helped me get an ID so I can apply for employment. I still could not obtain a livable wage paying job because of a felony I committed in 1996 and my application was denied from public housing also due to the felony. A year later, through a program, I obtained housing and found a job working part-time but it was not enough. I didn't want to live the rest of my life on assistance.
Eventually, I received some resources and services needed to aid me to just stay healthy. In 2008, I volunteered with The Afiya Center and they provided me information on systematic oppression and how it played a role in me not being able to catch a break, how my diagnosis was not based on behavior but of all those things happening at the same time created HIV risk. I took what I learned and found my voice. I started working with Afiya, moved in to a home and started working on getting my daughter Chrissy back. The state of Texas said No! Why? Because of my past, my income, and my health. After serving my time and off paper, living in my own home, going back to school, the state violated my right to parent my child, shamed me for obtaining services to help raise my child and did not allow me to make a livable wage because of a 20+ year old felony. I didn't relapse. I got angry!!! Angry enough to do something about it.
What is it going to take for you to get angry enough to move to action? Reproductive oppression must end! And it's going to take all of us to make it happen! What's the first thing you can do? VOTE!!! #ReproductiveJustice #Capitalism #Racism #Classism #WhatIsYourEndGame