A teacher of mine says, “everything is everything” as a way to explain the often inexplicable connections we have to each other and every living thing. For better or for worse, everything is connected. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) agency to set climate standards for power plants in the same week; I said to myself, “everything is everything.”
On the surface these court actions may seem totally unrelated but let’s trace back how they originate from the same source. (psst, it starts with Institutional white supremacy culture and systemic racism). Side note, if you’re white and reading this, I encourage you to remember that I am pinpointing an overarching system. A system you did not create but can perpetuate or more excitingly, disrupt with your actions. In addition, ALL of us were born into oppressive culture and systems, so much so that even Black and POC must unlearn its propaganda.
Now, back to the connection between abortion rights, EPA, and institutional white supremacy. In both instances people from several groups most targeted by systemic oppression (Black, POC, trans, poor) will pay the highest price. Here are a few stats to illustrate the connection further.
- The notion of body autonomy originated in the US as a result of the 14th Amendment which stated that formerly enslaved Black people would finally access family rights such as; marriage, raising their own children, and control over their own bodies.
- Black child birthers are 3x more likely to die in childbirth than white counterparts.
- In a 2015 study, 23% of trans people avoided pregnancy care for fear of being mistreated.
- Black people are 40% more likely to live in areas with increased climate related deaths and Latinx people are 43% more likely to live in areas with decreased work due to climate change.
- Climate change and anti-abortion is a poverty trap.
The stats are uncomfortable to read but it’s important to understand the connection. The web of oppressive culture stretches even wider than this. Our obsession with thinness (fatphobia), beauty standards, ableism, and productivity all stem from this same origin point. I’m not saying stop taking care of your body or stop setting business goals. I am saying actively ask yourself…is racism or oppressive thinking hiding here? As a quick tool, Cannabis Doing Good offers a Racial Equity Business Assessment to help you find out and plan your action towards equity.This tools calls us into reflection and offers powerful insights for how to move forward.
Now that the groundwork has been laid, I want to leave you with a few more ideas for tangible antiracist actions (for individuals or businesses) to disrupt institutional white supremacy and oppressive culture.
- Read the works of Black, POC, LGBTQIA+, fat, and differently-abled leaders.
- Work with experts in equity such as Cannabis Doing Good, the Gemini Group, Regan Byrd, or Zoe Williams to map out a plan for intentional action. We don’t work with them, but want to highlight Tilray for committing to cover their employees travel for abortion services.
- Support reproductive rights and environmental justice organizations; especially those who are led by people from systematically oppressed groups. One near and dear to my heart is Soul 2 Soul Sisters. Also, the National Network for Abortion Funds aggregates the info for over 80 abortion funds. Shoutout Grasslands for their fundraiser in support of Cobalt Abortion Fund.
- Commit to regular education sessions on antiracism and it’s tangents; environmental justice, reproductive rights, etc.
- Intentionally immerse yourself in environments where you are not the majority (with invitation and consent).
At CDG, we always talk about the “constellation of good”. We believe every action taken towards antiracism and equity connects. Our industry has an especially potent power to create a legacy of liberation for both people and planet. If you feel called, join the constellation and become a CDG member. Member or not, now is the perfect time for collaborative effort to disrupt systems of oppression.