I was privileged to visit Des Moines, Iowa in January, my first time ever in that great state. And it was cold, colder weather than I had been in, in years. It was snowy, so much so the city shut down due to the ice, wind and snow. But it was not the snow, ice or 6°weather that chilled my heart and disturbed my sleep. It was my
conversation with one of the Black elected officials that was most disturbing. Because my host had business at the State Capitol on the first day I arrived, I tagged along to listen and learn. Never one to miss an opportunity to educate about abortion and its genocidal impact in the Black community, I asked my host if there were any Black elected officials and if yes might I see them. I was able to see two.
While I may be romanticizing the unity of the Black community especially among those who lived in Jim Crow’s America, I thought the older of the two representatives who came out to meet me, would immediately understand the impact of Planned Parenthood’s targeting and would rally to the cause. All Blacks in the United States were one for all and all for one when Jim Crow politics ravaged our communities. We all remembered the KKK lynchings, the torture of Emmit Till, the bombing of the four little girls in Birmingham. Because of that I thought once I had explained, this gentleman would be among those who rose up to fight alongside me.
After sharing for a few minutes in what I thought was a waxing eloquent fashion, the older Representative stopped me and began to tell me how much he supports and appreciates Planned Parenthood. He shared about the money he had received from them to provide clinic services in his neighborhood when none of the nearby hospitals would finance him. He changed the subject matter of our discussion, lamenting about the poor educational opportunities in Black communities and the Black male incarceration rates’ impact to the family. I was stunned. In my mind he was admitting he had been bought off and no matter how many facts were presented that revealed their eugenic intent, he would stand with Planned Parenthood.
It was not until the next morning that I realized how deeply the conversation had disturbed me. Throughout the night I woke up wondering what I could have done differently that would have helped cut through his monetary allegiance to an organization that was deliberately taking the lives of Black children. What if I had played the 911 call related to Cree Erwin’s death? Would a mother’s cry (warning: heart wrenching) have made a difference? What if I had been able to leave them with a copy of Maafa21? The what ifs played through my mind all that night.
Thank God my trip to Iowa did not end on that sour note. The next day I was privileged to speak with a number of Black and Latino pastors and persons of influence. I left with a hope in my heart that these influencers would sound the alarm, would educate men and women about the genocide and would join in our efforts to end Planned Parenthood’s targeting. It is these influencers, not the bought and paid for legislators, who will join us in saying Enough!