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My sons would ask me, “Mom, will you tell me about the good days?” I always smiled. I told them I would go to bed with the most beautiful sky and wake up with the sun glaring over fields of groceries. The corn fields were long, and the vegetables grew minute by minute. The trees were tall with leaves or flowers of various smells.
What I did not tell them was about women’s rights. The women in my family had been abused, raped, broken like horses, and children ripped out of their arms. I saw women who were abused by their husbands, ministers, family members, etc., and the abusers never spent one day in jail.
Many pregnant women were abused because the man did not want the child. This is still happening today across racial lines.
According to the March of Dimes more than 320,000 women are abused by their partners during their pregnancy each year. Many times, the church or their employer defended the responsible party until society fought back. Women and young girls have been forced to make decisions to be sterilized or take a contraception, if they want help for survival.
Women fought for the end of prohibition in the 18th Amendment. Men would gamble or drink up their salary before they got home. After a divorce, women had to fight to get spousal support from their husband’s retirement salary after years of marriage without health or financial support for her in the Women’s Retirement Act of 1974. Women were treated like an old pair of shoes, stepped out of and then step into a new pair.
They fought for their right to vote. In 1878, Senator Sargent, a friend of Susan B. Anthony, introduced a bill to Congress for women’s rights to vote. It was more than 40 years later that it would be the 19th Amendment with no change to the wording. Thank God for Harry T. Burn, the 24-year-old legislator from the great state of Tennessee with the letter from his mother.
The 19th Amendment only made it legal for white women to vote. Alabama legislators refused to support the 19th Amendment of 1920, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Equal Right Amendment of 1972. In many situations, women did not have the right to own property, keep their wages, or sign contracts.
Nothing that women achieved has been easy. Women had to stage parades, silent vigils, hunger strikes, write letters, lobby, and practice civil disobedience. They also endured being heckled, jailed and physically abused.
To my sons: protect your female relatives, stand up and defend their rights. Please take the rights of females in America as seriously as you would going to war to fight for rights of women in foreign countries. The Taliban believe in limiting people’s rights concerning the use of television, music, movies, secondary schools for girls, gay rights, use of contraceptives, and limiting employment. One in 50 women die in Afghanistan related to pregnancy.
The Supreme Court does not have one person who has served in the military. There are six Catholic, two Protestant and one Jewish person on the court. In 2019, 43% of Americans identified as Protestant, 20% as Catholic, 2% as Mormons, and 26% as no formal religious identity. A true believer or a moral mind would have examined the health disparity in this country for women before abolishing the abortion law and questioned why women have abortions at an alarming rate.
Would you let a minister make decisions on your health condition unless he was qualified to give medical advice? In Alabama in 2019, according to the CDC, 40 new mothers died within one year after delivery. Women in Alabama died from cardiomyopathy, hemorrhage, amniotic fluid embolism, infection, preeclampsia, and eclampsia. Seventy percent of these pregnancy-related deaths could have been prevented.
I cannot speak for Black people, but I can speak for myself. The American Constitution states that I have the right to voice my opinions and be a good citizen.
My sons – your mother is a Christian; I learned my identity in Christ at an early age. I feel comfortable with self. Matthew 7:15 reads, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
My sons, there is no dishonor in being poor, but do not let being poor define you. Jesus was homeless, born in a manger, respected women, stopped the stoning of a woman, healed the sick, walked on water, created a vast quantity of fish and bread, resurrected the dead, rose from the dead, calmed the storm, and exorcised demons from people. Every day for me is Easter. He has carried, held and rocked me in many ways.
When I am in my lowest hour, I knew my finest hour would depend on how I reacted to my fellow man.
“I believe God is a spirit infinite, eternal and unchanged in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”