As a human, a femme non-binary person, a Black Latine person, a queer person, all the ways I exist have had to mourn and feel angry this weekend. The decision passed down by the Supreme Court this week for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned decades of precedent around the right to privacy. These are the rights that marginalized folks have built and won. I have received communication from members and understand your urgency. I thank you all for your patience as I process this myself and figure out what to say in response.
As US Labor Against Racism and War explains, “Make no mistake. Reproductive health care is a workers’ issue and overturning Roe v Wade is a racist attack on our sisters. The SCOTUS decision today will only affect those women of limited economic means and disproportionately impact poor and working women of color. The health and safety of our sisters are all at risk.” I would add that this decision also disproportionately impacts our trans and non-binary siblings looking for gender affirming and reproductive healthcare.
This is a union issue because our fight for justice is not for just us: It is for all working class folks. As the largest education local in the state, we help hold the line against these classist, sexist, transphobic, abilist and racist attacks. I believe part of my role as your elected leadership is to make sure that whatever we ask of PAT (that's us, each and every member) is impactful and intentional. It becomes performance when it isn't rooted in community and is not led by and prioritizing those directly impacted or harmed.
In terms of our knowledge and acting in service to our community, I have tried to gather resources and support for PAT Leadership to vet and share out. That living document can be found HERE. Please let me know if there are any organizations you feel are supporting this work towards human rights and access to reproductive health that we can review and spotlight at [email protected]. I know we have a broad scope of member expertise and talent we can deploy to spaces where they are needed.
What I know and trust is that we will never accept a world that decides that some have freedom over their bodies and others do not. We will not allow the privileged few to undo the centuries of struggle working class folks in this country have done to get closer to the promise of liberty and justice for all. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. We may feel hopeless now, but we can and will do what it takes to make America “the land it never has been and yet must be”.
Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other.
En solidaridad y con cariño,
Angela Bonilla (she/they/ella)
President Elect, Portland Association of Teachers
Portland Association of Teachers