In Connie Schultz’s lastest column, “Race-Baiting for Life, Redux,” we hear directly from La’Tasha Mayes, founder and director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, a grassroots organization that acts through New Voices Pittsburgh and now, New Voices Cleveland.
In an interview, Mayes said that with these billboards, Ohio Right to Life’s agenda is as transparent as it is foolish.
“They must think black women’s memories are short,” she said, “or that there’s no organized effort for us to respond to this. They’re absolutely wrong. Black women have always resisted reproductive oppression. Always.”
Mayes is referring to the 2010 Georgia Right to Life effort that featured the line, “Black children are an endangered specieis.” Connie’s first time around with this style of blame and shame campaign came then, in her original, “Race-Baiting for Life.” It received more than a few comments if you’re brave enough to scroll into them.
This time, Michael Gonidakis, head of Ohio Right to Life, rather than respond directly to the African-American women who wrote him an open letter demanding an end to a campaign they call “heinous” and feel is disrespectful and sows distrust and diminishment of Black women, deflects the seriousness with which they have raised their objections and, instead, patronizes a former journalist and current advocate.
In what appears to be a now-deleted tweet, In this tweet, he chastises Sandy Theis merely for having retweeted the news that New Voices Cleveland had sent him an open letter concerning their objections to the campaign. It says, “@SandyTheis You are better than this, Sandy. Stop Whistling Past the Graveyard and ignoring the impact of abortion on African Americans.”
Not the behavior of someone who truly believes that his work is that of an ally, let alone of someone who truly values all life – including that embodied by adult Black women. As they say, #TrustBlackWomen.