BTR News, By Scotty Reid – Today is March 1st, the first day of women’s History Month and on this day I would like to bring your attention to Audre Lorde, born February 18, 1934 and transitioned on November 17, 1992. Audre Lorde was a writer and civil rights activist. Many of her poems expressed anger and outrage at the civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life in the United States. Her poems and prose largely dealt with issues related to civil rights, feminism, and the exploration of the black female identity.
Lorde said that “I am not free while any woman is unfree even when her shackles are different from my own”. It has been 25 years since Lordes transition from her physical form of existence and while most people observing women’s history will point to Hillary Clinton, the first woman to win the popular vote in a presidential election, as a milemarker in women’s progress but the sad truth is, women are increasingly going backwards as they become shackled as victims of 21st Century slavery and human trafficking.
According to the ACLU, one million women are behind bars or under the control of the criminal injustice system and women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985. Overwhelmingly the women are women of color, particularly black women. Black women represent 30% of all incarcerated women in the U.S, although they represent only 13% of the female population generally. Among female state prisoners, two-thirds are mothers of minor children.
As Donald Trump reiterates his commitment to ramping up the War on Drugs and use of private prisons, it is likely that women will continue to increasingly fall victim to modern slavery and human trafficking in the United States.
It is important that women participate in the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on August 19 in Washington D.C and claim their historic place in the new abolitionist movement in the spirit of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.