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“Black Genocide” Candidate Running as Democrat in Kansas House Race

8:58 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Kari Ann Rinker for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

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An anti-choice Democrat running for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives isn’t really “news” in Kansas. It is infuriating, certainly, but also very common. During the 2013 legislative session 41 percent of the Kansas House Democratic Caucus cast anti-choice votes. In Kansas, The War on Women often entails Democrats and Republicans working together to build barricades to women’s health care through extreme and burdensome restrictions.

It is unusual, however, for an anti-choice Democratic house candidate to speak at local Tea Party rallies, be openly hostile to President Obama, and act as a community leader in propagating the extreme anti-choice myth of black genocide. Well, Kansas, meet your Democratic Party candidate for Wichita’s 89th House District… Peggy Elliott.

One of Wichita’s well-known anti-choice zealots and street harassers has managed to secure her place on a Sedgwick County Democratic primary election ballot. This is a maneuver she may have picked up from another former Wichita anti-choice zealot, Randall Terry, whose Democratic bid for the Presidency may have provided the inspiration for Elliot’s political aspirations, even though Terry’s scheme didn’t pan out for him in Kansas.

Ms. Elliott is very active within Wichita’s African-American community and also within the anti-choice community. Kansans for Life’s website lists her as their African-American Affiliate and provides the following description of her affiliation with that organization:

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Alveda King’s Dangerous PayDay Loan

8:34 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Pamela Merritt for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

I know several people who were at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom August 28, 1963.  I’ve held buttons in my hand that were exchanged on the Mall that day, passed from one person to another documenting how people came from all over the nation to gather and advocate for justice.  And I know that so many of the rights I enjoy today were earned through the blood, sweat and tears of those regular folk and the brave people who organized their activism.  A lot of people focus on the speeches made 47 years ago on the Mall, but I have always been inspired by the pictures of the crowd that capture the faces of the people who made the movement possible.

I watched some of the coverage of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally this past weekend and I heard Dr. Alveda King speak.  Dr. Alveda King is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an anti-choice activist with Priests for Life.  She referred to the speech her uncle made that day, specifically to his statement about America giving black people a “bad check.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said:

"In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’"

Forty-seven years later to the day, King’s niece Alveda King said, “When will we know that the check Uncle Martin spoke of is good? We will know when prayer is once again welcome in the public squares of America and in our schools.”

Really?

Well, the Mall in Washington DC is the very definition of the public square and organizers of the Beck rally managed to fit some public prayer in without interference.

So, have we overcome?

Has that check finally been paid in full?

I think not.

The 1961 Freedom Rides and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom were about expanding, protecting and guaranteeing access to the all of the rights afforded to all persons through the Constitution of the United States of America.

Dr. Alveda King has spent much of the summer of 2010 trying to re-write that history.  In her world, the womb is a battlefield on which she is prepared to wage war on the reproductive rights of black women. 

Dr. Alveda King’s “Freedom Rides” offer a tour of the equality she’d like to see denied, specifically the denial of the Constitutionally guaranteed right to reproductive freedom  she is now working overtime to restrict, revise and remove. 

The Freedom Rides of 1961 tested the system to ensure access, open doors and guarantee safety.

Dr. Alveda King’s Freedom Rides trampled on that legacy by demanding the denial of access to the full range of reproductive health care, the closing of doors and a return to unsafe conditions that would put women at risk.

In 1963 people gathered at the Mall in Washington DC to push for legislation that would protect black voters who faced violence at the polls, protect workers who faced unsafe work conditions and unfair wages and protect the rights of all Americans to live lives free of the fear of violence and the ramifications of discrimination.

Let’s keep it real – this past weekend the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took the stage and tried to sell this nation a payday loan as the payment solution on that check her uncle spoke of 47 years ago. 

If we take her up on that payday loan we’ll end up in debt and no further down the road to true equality and social justice.

The movement was never about the stage on which people stood or the monument they stood in front of.

The movement was and is about protecting the rights of regular folk and how the denial of those rights threatens all of our freedom.

Anti-Choice “Freedom Rides” Seek to Curtail Freedom

7:03 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Pamela Merritt for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

When I read that Dr. Alveda King is planning a revival of the famed 1960’s civil rights Freedom Rides to protest abortion in general and abortion within black communities in particular, I was quite frankly disturbed.  The Freedom Rides are every American’s legacy and serve to remind us all of the fact that rights without access and freedom from violence are rights in name only.  Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an activist opposed to abortion rights, is deeply involved in the campaign to frame abortion as a tool of genocide against black people.  RH Reality Check has done extensive coverage of the abortion as genocide conspiracy theory and I have followed news of billboards that claim that black children are an endangered “species” and the attempt to pass legislation in Georgia to “protect” women of color from abortion as racial discrimination.  Those who oppose abortion rights using the black genocide conspiracy theory isn’t new and it is a disturbing tactic on it’s own, but this latest move to co-opt Civil Rights history is a new low.

My father was 22 years old in 1961 when the Freedom Rides began. Although he lived in Pennsylvania at the time, he was deeply concerned about the racial oppression in the South.  Years later, he would tell me what it felt like to watch people challenge racial segregation on public transportation and interstate buses in the South and how watching the violence their actions provoked changed his life.  My father, and many Americans like him, became a Civil Rights activist because he was inspired by the courage of other activists and enlightened by images of the violent resistance to social change that greeted the Freedom Rides in the South.  When he spoke of the Freedom Rides, he always reminded me that they had a purpose – to make the promise of equality a reality and release Southern blacks from the limiting oppression of Jim Crow.  In short, the Freedom Rides were about access and an individual’s ability to exercise her or his rights without fear of violence.

Think about that for a moment – regular folks taking part in training on how to protest without violence and then jumping on buses to travel to the segregated South so that they could challenge communities that were denying black citizens access to facilities despite Supreme Court rulings striking down racial discrimination.  Now think about the so-called pro-life freedom rides proposed by Dr. Alveda King – individuals opposed to abortion rights taking part in training on how to protest a woman’s right to abortion services, despite Supreme Court rulings guaranteeing that right, and then jumping on buses to travel to cities so that they can challenge communities that are granting women access to healthcare providers and abortion services.

There is something uniquely insulting about a tactic used to fight against the denial of rights and access now being used to fight for the denial of rights and access.

Dr. Alveda King has the right to protest against abortion rights and she even has the right to insult the legacy of the Civil Right’s movement by appropriating language and tactics.  In 2010 America, Dr. Alveda King can organize a tour, charter buses, rent billboards and protest at community health care providers in all 50 states if she wants to.  If Dr. Alveda King gets hungry along the way, she can go to a restaurant and eat, if she gets thirsty she can go to any drinking fountain and drink and when she gets tired she will be able to go to a hotel and rest.

She has those rights and so many more because people fought for them, risked their lives and then returned to risk those lives again.

I stress “for” because that is a crucial word – a legacy of the Civil Rights movement is the struggle for rights, for the access without fear of violence that makes a right more than a mere suggestion.  The recent healthcare reform battle and subsequent attempts to restrict access to abortion services at the state level make it clear that those who oppose abortion rights are not fighting for anything; they are fighting against something. Dr. Alveda King and others who oppose abortion rights are fighting against access to health care, against access to comprehensive sex education and against a woman’s right to abortion services.  They seek to reinstate a system of separate and unequal access to services by passing legislation that would make abortion available only to those who live in certain states or who can afford to scale the hurdles of abortion restrictions. Their goals stand in opposition to freedom and are an insult to the principle of equal justice. 

“Pro-life” Freedom Rides are set to begin this summer in Birmingham Alabama.