Op/Ed By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – For several months, we’ve been bombarded with so much hatred that we thought was in our past. How did we come to this? 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. When I hear that declaration, I want to ask people making it if they know that America has never been so great for women who are nowhere to be found in our Constitution. We want to be considered full human beings and that our rights are considered to be human rights. For that we need an Equal Rights Amendment.
I wonder if those who talk about making America great AGAIN know about the double jeopardy of Black women. We’re certainly not mentioned in our Constitution, while Black men were considered 3/5ths of a person. Like other women, we were not considered to have any rights. We were, and still, are not mentioned in the Constitution. You can hold the little book in high esteem, read it many times over, and 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 love to 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 privileged group of white males for whom America has always been great.
Ask my Native American friends at Standing Rock and elsewhere in places where their sacred lands have been stolen or decimated with pollution of the air and water around them if America is so great AGAIN. It’s possible they could proclaim the once greatness of their nation before they were invaded by outsiders—but that was too far back for the living to remember that time.
Ask my Latino friends if making America great AGAIN would apply 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 of our nation who’s been known to disrespect us and brag about his exploits of women in such vulgar terms.
Eight years ago, so many of us had so much hope that things would change for us—and many things did change because we had a President who truly cared about our well-being and was respectful of us. No, he didn’t get everything done that he tried to do, but he did one heck of a lot to move 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 historical event. The mood of the nation was so positive. People were excited, and looked forward to the Obama Administration. 84 percent of Americans gave him a positive rating going into office, and still gave him a high rating as he left office. He did a yeoman’s job in making America great for all of her citizens—not AGAIN, but for once—Black people, poor people, Asians, Native people, Hispanic people, women, children, people with disabilities—you name it! He did this while the very people coming in to RULE our nation now pushed back on progress for us.
We skipped the 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, President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. 202/678-6788 www.nationalcongressbw.org.)