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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"May your character be so solid..."

I've not previously commented about this, in the interest of not giving attention to ideas that do not deserve it, but now that it has become a news story I feel compelled to speak out.

The pro-life, pro-woman organization New Wave Feminists (NWF) was founded by Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, and for a long time, her second-in-command was a woman named Kristen Hatten. Around the time President Trump took office, Kristen had a sudden change of philosophy and adopted alt right, "ethnonationalist" ideas... crudely expressed in the form of disturbing, racist memes which I will not link to here. Destiny immediately removed Kristen from NWF and brought on Cessilye Smith (who is black) as her new co-leader.

In other words, Destiny did everything right, and as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished. Destiny's punishment arrived yesterday in the form of a venomous Huffington Post article, which—despite being about a pro-life organization's rejection of racism—takes every opportunity to falsely portray pro-lifers and racists as natural allies. It contains such gems as: "throughout the history of the abortion wars, a great deal of violent energy has been generated at the confluence of anti-abortion activism and white supremacy," "the movements share heroes," and "the kinship isn’t hard to understand: both are movements of the status quo, dedicated to preserving a white patriarchal order."

(Yes, you read that right. The pro-life movement, whose raison d'ĂȘtre is the reversal of a 45-year-old Supreme Court decision, wants to preserve the status quo. Whatever you say, HuffPo.)

It's a depressing read with an accusatory subtext: that NWF (and, by extension, pro-life advocates in general) cynically distanced itself from Kristen for purely optical reasons. As opposed to, you know, because we value people of color.

I would like to turn this around into something positive. People of color, like all people, are valuable first and foremost because human beings have inherent worth. But allow me to also shed some light on the valuable accomplishments of pro-life people of color—because Secular Pro-Life would look a lot different without them.

The #HelloHyde campaign? That was led by women of color. Our 2017 Students for Life of America conference presentation? Yup. Our upcoming project that launches in June—I'm not at liberty to discuss it yet, but you're going to love it—brings back the #HelloHyde volunteers plus many more.

At the foundation, I don't think I would have become a pro-life activist at all if not for the support I received from people of color. I got involved in the pro-life movement as a college student, attending the University of Miami—where the overwhelming majority of the pro-life student organization was Latinx. If they hadn't been there, who knows? I could have dedicated my time to some other club and Secular Pro-Life wouldn't even exist.

I'm just speaking from my own experience, of course, and I don't want you to come away with the impression that racial diversity in the pro-life movement is somehow new. People of color have made substantial contributions to the cause from the beginning. What I would give for Hollywood to make a Mildred Jefferson biopic!

I don't really know how to end this article, so I'll close with some good advice by Cessilye Smith of New Wave Feminists:

"May your character be so solid, that people would never think that your silence is low key acceptance of something evil."

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