[originally published at The LatiNegr@s Project]
This week marked the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade,
the supreme court decision that made abortion legal in the US. In much
of the coverage around this anniversary there has been a lot of
discussion regarding Latin@s and Black men and women*. What is missing is the inclusion and narratives of LatiNegr@s.
As readers know LatiNegr@s are both ethnically Latin@ and
racially Black. Our experiences matter and must also be included. Our
experiences may very well be similar to Latin@s of any racial group and
racially Black people as well. However, we also have specific
experiences because we are both.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has data and a focus on abortion access. They also have a new project Yo Te Apoyo
with a video discussing how to support a friend who is terminating a
pregnancy. Unfortunately, it seems there is only one LatiNegr@ featured.
This is a great example of inclusion, and I expect to see more of us
included on a regular basis and in more numbers. However, I’m not sure
how NLIRH has included LatiNegr@s in their past research. It’s safe to
say we are rarely (if ever) featured in a headline and often discussed
as only Latin@.
This is a similar approach we see in spaces focusing on Black
women as well. Rarely do we see a ethnic breakdown of the racially Black
women featured. Earlier this week Dani McClain published an article
at Ebony.com asking why Black women are not represented in
conversations about abortion and why we don’t share our stories. McClain
examined the videos folks published for the 1 in 3 campaign and wrote: “Out of the 31 moving, intimate videos posted online, four appear to feature Black women.”
Although it “appears” to only feature 4 Black women, McClain
has excluded the voices of LatiNegr@s. Perhaps the appearance of a Black
woman McClain is seeking is very specific to certain characteristics
such as skin color only because she did not include this LatiNegra’s story (yes
that’s me, the author). McClain’s question of why Black women are not
represented or sharing their stories of abortion is valid and important.
I’d like to take her question a step further and ask why are the
experiences and narratives of LatiNegr@s not represented (yet)?
The primary issue is that we are not included. Either we are
discussed only as Latin@s or only as Black people and rarely as both.
Ignoring this connection/complexity is a form of erasure and silencing.
We will no longer be silent or ignored! We will hold folks accountable
for excluding us and support them in ensuring their representations are
inclusive. If you are interested in sharing your story as a LatiNegr@
with the NLIRH Yo Te Apolyo project learn how to do so here.
If you know of research and projects that include us please share them!
*The terms wo/man are in reference to gender and not sex
assigned at birth (SAAB). As a result, abortion is a topic that may
impact people of all genders and not only folks whose SAAB is female or
intersex. For these reasons the @ sign will be used to recognize gender
and terms wo/man will both be used. For more information about how the @
sign is used read here.