Make no mistake, this is not about abortion, no matter how many times Republicans say so. It’s about health screenings, for breast cancer and cervical cancer; for prenatal care; for child care and immunizations; mammograms; screening for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDs; proper use of contraceptives; for the right of Americans who do not have paid healthcare to still be well and safe.
And it’s about time the Rich White American Men realize that when they take something from the Women of America — the Women of America will fight back.
When Republican Senator Jeff Flake held a town hall meeting in his Arizona district Thursday night, he was hounded about his stance on Planned Parenthood funding. In fact, a 16-year-old girl schooled Flake
on women’s health care, and it was just beautiful.
Flake (like all but two Republican senators) voted in favor of a law President Trump signed Thursday allowing states to block health clinics
that perform abortions from receiving federal Title X family-planning money. The law reverses a previous rule put in place by the Obama administration and could make it even more difficult for low-income people
in conservative states to access birth control, well-woman exams, cancer screenings, and other services.
Deja Foxx was well aware of Flake’s support for keeping money from specific health clinics, and she spoke up accordingly at his town hall. She began by laying out a few key differences between Flake and herself.
“I just want to state some facts,” she said to the senator. “I’m a young woman; you’re a middle-aged man. I’m a person of color, and you’re white. I come from a background of poverty, and I didn’t always have parents to guide me through life; you come from privilege.”
She then asked, “I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why is it your right to take away my right…?” Cheers from the crowd were too loud to hear the rest of her question, but you get the gist.
“Well thank you. I’m glad to hear of my privileged childhood,” Senator Flake responded, pointing out that he’s one of 11 kids and paid for college on his own.
“Privilege comes in many forms,” Deja retorted without skipping a beat, garnering more cheers from the crowd.
Deciding to stop blatantly denying his white male privilege, Flake said, “You bet it does, and I’ve had a lot of advantages that others haven’t. What I want is to make sure that everyone can realize the American Dream that all of us have been successful in.” Not buying it, Deja asked: If Planned Parenthood is helping her reach the American Dream, why would he deny her its services?
Watch the full video below to hear all the 16-year-old’s passionate words.
At a patient roundtable earlier on Thursday, Deja shared why Planned Parenthood is so important to her. “I am a ‘youth on their own’ — meaning I don’t live with my parents or have a permanent home,” she said in a transcript provided by Planned Parenthood. “So when I needed birth control and reproductive health care, I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the health care system.” Because she didn’t have access to her state insurance card, her care was completely covered by Title X funds, she said.
Deja also explained why she attended the patient roundtable in the first place: “I’m here today because I want to make sure that every person — no matter where they come from, whether they have a family, or money, or great health insurance, or any health insurance at all — can still get the care and information they need.”
Deja plans to study political science in college and eventually run for office, “because someone has got to stop these political attacks on our reproductive rights.”
I was not born on the upper rungs of the ladder, though I am white. My paternal grandfather raised a family of eight washing windows and I am so proud of him. He had the work ethic. My maternal grandfather went to Chicago to work during the Depression to support his immediate family and the extended family who crossed over from the old country. He was a tool and dye maker. He sent money home to Cleveland to buy food so my grandmother could cook food and feed all of them. My pride in them as people is immense and I inherited my desire to make the world a better place comes from their example.
In truth, I never talked about people of color. They were there but they weren’t people of color. They were just people we knew. Archie Bunker introduced me to racism, bigotry and hatred.
When I heard this young boy’s poem, I was touched. There are people who get it. And they tell others and some of them get it and they tell others and on and on. I challenge all of you who are non-haters, non-racists, non-bigots to tell someone who you really are. Speak up. This is the time before we find ourselves in another World War. The world is shaky right now, but we can stabilize it with our voices and our actions.
We can want or even demand that our elected officials stop the racism and hatred, but it truly is our job. This is our world and we are the ones who are responsible for speaking, nay yelling, out the truth. Black Lives Matter, Women are equal even if not legally, refugees deserve compassion and assistance, women deserve equal pay for equal work, Muslims deserve to worship in their own way. Everyone does except for those who feel their way is the only right way and non-believers deserve to die.
I believe we can get past this without a war. I believe that love, peace, forgiveness and compassion is where we begin.
People of color everywhere are friends and share life’s ups and downs.