In the past week, we’ve seen COVID-19’s grip on the nation tighten while the pre-existing social conditions that exacerbate its lethality become all the more obvious. For us at AAPF, the distress, pain, and hardship that now stretches across our nation is a call to address how our society’s ruinous negligence has underwritten the depths of this tragedy.
Thank you so much to those of you who tuned in from across the country and the world for Wednesday’s virtual event. Your robust level of participation and engagement confirms that there is a vibrant and expansive virtual community eager to come together to understand the contours of this crisis. We are awed by the wealth of information and resources that this community lifted up and are pleased to share them with you here.
Please stay with us as we continue the conversation on Wednesday, April 1st, when we will be hosting Part Two of our series, “Under the Blacklight: The Intersectional Failures that COVID Lays Bare.” Our discussion will feature disability rights activist Dara Baldwin, media critic Janine Jackson, restaurant workers’ advocate Saru Jayaraman, international climate activist and author Naomi Klein, and the award-winning author Kiese Laymon. You can RSVP and read more about our incredible guests here. Please submit questions and comments for our panelists through social media using the hashtags #SocialJusticeSOS and #AAPFCovid, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can follow us on Instagram (@AAPolicyForum), Twitter (@AAPolicyForum), and Facebook for more updates. AAPF in the Media AAPF Executive Director Kimberle Crenshaw’s latest feature in the New Republic, “Seeing No Evil: The Perils of Gender-blind Consensus Thinking” analyzes how sexism -- and an aspirationally gender-blind political discourse -- paralleled the rise (and eventual fall) of post-racialism.
Sexism and its particular intersections with other structured inequalities have, of course, not faded since the onslaught of COVID-19. Gendered inequalities will remain a significant factor in shaping the road ahead, as this New York Times piece -- “Coronavirus Threatens an Already Strained Maternal Health System”-- reveals. In this critical time, it is important not to lose sight of how disasters often reinforce pre-existing inequalities across lines of race, class, age, sexuality, ability, and gender. Women’s History Month For the past five years, AAPF has dedicated the last week of March to its #HerDreamDeferred series -- a week of programming curated to highlight the U.N. Decade of Afrodescendant people. (You can find last year’s programming here.) In light of current events, however, we have widened our platform to apply an intersectional prism to COVID-19.
To celebrate Women’s History month, Kimberle Crenshaw joined an array of today’s leaders such as Kamala Harris, Pat Mitchell, Patrisse Cullors, and Ai-Jen Poo in lifting up the women who have inspired them on CNN.com. Crenshaw paid tribute to Ida B. Wells, taking a timely opportunity to bring Wells’ unique influence to the fore in the context of a series of essays celebrating women leaders.
Wells’ vision and courage laid the groundwork for a complex conception of social justice advocacy across numerous concerns. As our E.D. acknowledged in her essay, Wells’ “legacy can be seen in the sit-in demonstrations of the 1960s, the emerging political power of Black women in contemporary America, and the struggles against anti-Black racism that are the foundation of #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName.”
Yet to say that Wells’ career was one defined by success and praise would be quite misleading. In fact, Wells often ended up on the losing side of her battles for a more capacious approach to social justice. Crenshaw says of Wells, “In fighting for her present she nurtured a realizable future. She is an ever-present reminder that losing in the short run is not the worst outcome.” We would be wise to emulate Wells’ resilience in these trying times. We look forward to (virtually) seeing you on Wednesday. Don’t forget to register and “bring” a friend! In solidarity, The AAPF Team