How did we come to this?

Filed under COLUMNISTS, OPINION

For several months, we’ve been bombarded with so much hatred that we thought was in our past.

We’ve heard declarations of making America great AGAIN, as though it’s always been great for all of us and not just the few.

Hearing that declaration, I want to ask people making it if they know that America has never been so great for women, who are nowhere found in our Constitution. We want to be considered full human beings and that our rights are human rights.

For that, we need an Equal Rights Amendment.

‘Double jeopardy’
I wonder if those who talk about making America great AGAIN know about the double jeopardy of Black women. Like other women, we were not considered to have rights. We’re certainly not mentioned in our Constitution, while Black men were considered 3/5ths of a person. You can read it many times over never find the word “woman.”

America has certainly never been at its greatest for me as a Black American or as a woman. I would like be able to truthfully say, “Make America great AGAIN, but I can never add the word “AGAIN” to that sentence, because I’m not in that group of White males for whom America has always been great.

Ask them
Ask my Native American friends at Standing Rock and elsewhere in places where their sacred lands have been stolen or decimated, and air and water around them is polluted, if America is so great AGAIN.

Ask my Latino friends if making America great AGAIN would apply to them. Ask them why they fear that all the work they’ve done here to make America great for them too, seems to be at risk as we welcome a new administration.

Ask women like me if we feel that America can be made so great AGAIN for us when we think of the horror of having a leader who’s been known to disrespect us and brag about his exploits of women in vulgar terms.

Hope and change
Eight years ago, so many of us had so much hope that things would change for us. Many things did change, because we had a president who truly cared about our wellbeing and was respectful of us.

No, he didn’t get everything done that he tried to do. But he moved us up from where we were when he came to office.

On his Inauguration Day, we were running to the National Mall to be a part of that historic event.

People were excited and looked forward to the Obama administration. Eighty-four percent of Americans gave him a positive rating going into office, and still gave him a high rating as he left office.

Pushing back
He did a yeoman’s job in making America great for all her citizens – not AGAIN, but ONCE – for Black people, poor people, Asians, Native people, Hispanic people, women, children, people with disabilities. The very people coming in to RULE our nation now push back on progress for us.

We skipped the 2017 inauguration because there is no way we could celebrate. We can only hope, pray and serve those in need. I don’t know how we got here, but it’s up to all of us to move our agenda forward!

Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

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