Black Sacramentans Protest Roe’s Overturning, Shutting I-5

By Jared D. Childress | OBSERVER Staff Writer

Nia Thomas, left, and Jameya Atkins of Sacramento, both 15, say it’s important for young people to speak up because they are the future of this country.

Protesters burned American flags on the steps of the Capitol and marched onto the Interstate 5 onramp at L Street on July 4 chanting “abortion is health care,” stopping holiday traffic in Sacramento. The crowd organized in protest of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which is expected lead to abortion bans in half of the states.

“As a young Black woman, I’m fighting for every Black woman,” said Jayden Wilson, 18. “Black women are the most disregarded and will be most affected by this decision.”

Wilson took to the megaphone and led the crowd in a chant cursing Justice Clarence Thomas, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

When asked why she included Biden and Harris, Wilson said, “I’m saying their names because they are politicians as well. And politicians are not supporting Black people.”

According to HIT Strategies, Biden’s approval rating among Blacks under age 50 dropped from 77% to 64% from January to March and continues to slip.

Jameya Atkins and Nia Thomas, both 15, said it was important for young people to be involved because they are “the future of this country.”

“The 4th supposedly represents independence for America, but if we look at the direction this country is going, that’s not where we’re headed,” Thomas said.

“Roe v. Wade isn’t just about abortion, it’s also about gay marriage and contraceptives,” Atkins said. “We have to fight for our right to a better future.”

While Roe’s overturning does not ban contraceptives, Justice Thomas wrote on page 119 of the court’s majority opinion that justices should “reconsider all of the Court’s substantive due process precedents.” He then mentioned by name previous rulings that protected marriage equality and the right for married couples to access contraception.

Deondrae Witten said it was important for Black men to support Black women.

“Black women are getting raped on a daily basis,” said Witten, 22. “The [government] is supposed to keep us safe, but they are not keeping Black women safe.”

According to the National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, one in five Black women are survivors of rape and one in four Black girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18.

Qozmo Ezekiel attended the protest with his partner and their child. As a nonbinary gender, all-encompassing trans person of color, he said the conversation needs to be trans-inclusive.

“I do have a uterus and my rights are being infringed upon,” said Ezekiel, 22. “It means a lot to me to be here as a trans person — and a trans parent.”

In a 2019 study, researchers recommended that abortion care should include and affirm the experiences of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people after 36% of those surveyed who experienced pregnancy considered trying to end a pregnancy on their own without clinical supervision.

While abortions remain legal in California, Wilson said Blacks across the nation need to fight the overturning of a precedent set 49 years ago.

“Black women and any Black person with a uterus have to make our voices heard,” Wilson said. “They weren’t listening to us when we told them to stop killing us and now they’re patrolling our uteruses. We’ve got to come out and fight.”

Special To The Observer

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