If this August has confirmed nothing else, it’s that where women gather, there is power; power often underestimated and underutilized, but capable of transforming the world. We saw it 100 years ago this week with the passage of the 19th Amendment, which enabled (white) women to vote after a decades-long suffrage movement. Forty-five years later, we saw Black women providing much of the momentum behind the civil rights movement and eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, securing voting access for us all.
Because when black women fight for equality, it is never only to save ourselves.
From Sojourner Truth to Stacey Abrams—who kicked off our inaugural Root Institute—we have seen the impact of Black women’s ongoing fight for equity. On the third night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention (all of which have been hosted by women of color thus far), we once again saw women come to the fore in defense of our democracy, culminating in the first Black woman to be nominated for vice president on a major party ticket, Kamala Harris.
Nevertheless, we are still a long way from equity; a fact made painfully clear by last Thursday’s commemoration of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, in which we were reminded that Black women still make 62 cents for every dollar made by a white man in an equal role. And as we’ve watched the disproportionately devastating impact COVID-19 has had upon our communities, we’ve been further reminded how often Black and Brown bodies—and Black women, in particular—have borne the brunt of the risk. They are both working on the frontlines and as essential workers at every level, in addition to holding our communities—and our democracy—together as breadwinners, caretakers, policymakers, advocates, activists, and more through a pandemic and economic crisis during an equally high-risk election year.
Therefore, it’s only fitting that as we discuss health and wealth in the Black community for Week Three of The Root Institute, we were joined by three incredible Black women with firsthand knowledge of what’s at stake for the health of Black communities. Planned Parenthood’s Alexis McGill Johnson, Joy Altimare of EHE Health and Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, joined me, The Glow Up’s Maiysha Kai, for a candid and absolutely crucial conversation on how historical health disparities in our communities have made us especially vulnerable to COVID-19, why the health of our communities is directly linked to Black women’s health, and why the fight for equity, the environment, and our democracy is essential work we all need to be engaged in.
Check out the full interview above and sign up for The Root Institute today.