There are not a lot of things I fear. Spiders and snakes don’t raise my heart rate. Roller coasters don’t make me nauseous. Heights don’t make me want to grab something and never let go. However, there is something that paralyzes me with fear. My blood pressure skyrockets at the 17-year-old girl who takes her own life because she can’t bear to deliver a child she knows she cannot mentally or financially support. My chest tightens for the 29-year-old woman whose boyfriend will beat her senselessly because he doesn’t want any children and she can’t get an abortion. I tremble at the 14-year-old girl who was molested and raped by a family member and who now has to endanger her life to bear a child.
I am beyond scared for the soon-to-be state of America. Being a Black woman in this hellhole of a nation is by far the scariest thing I’ve ever faced. I was awoken Friday morning June 24, 2022, by my mother, who delivered news to me: After half a century, the monumental court case Roe v. Wade had been overturned, and I no longer have my right to an abortion protected. After half a century, my constitutional right has been stolen from me. After half a century, a court of nine people dictated the lives of more than 332,000,000 people.
As my mother’s words began to sink in, I picked up my phone to witness my peers in complete and utter distress. Only hours after the ruling, dozens of my friends and peers were in disarray. I had over 30 texts, and my social media notifications were pinging nonstop. My friends were asking questions I never thought needed to be answered: Will I be arrested for having an abortion? Will victims of sexual assault and incest be forced to have a child? Do I have to travel out of state to have an abortion? There are so many questions, and I have no idea what any answers are. However, I do know something to be true. I will never stop fighting for my human rights. Nor will I stop educating others on theirs.
It’s so easy to feel powerless when it comes to making a change in this country, but we’re not. Here’s some things we can do, some tools we can utilize in these times.
Many of us are of voting age and need to take advantage of that — not just in national elections but your local ones too. The overturning of Roe v. Wade gives power to the states to determine the ability to get a medically safe abortion. So we need to put the right people in power. People that have our best interest at heart.
- Once you’re 17 and a half, you can register to vote online at georgia.gov/register-vote.
- If you’re already registered, check your status and make sure you’re set to vote in the next election on the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.
- Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, when voters will decide their governor, U.S. senator(s), and representatives in the U.S. House — among other races.
- If you can’t vote, you can contribute by supporting a candidate’s campaign. Volunteering for local or state campaigns will allow you to talk to people who are eligible to vote. This allows you to tell them about what your candidate stands for and why it matters.
It is also super important that people protect themselves. If you are having sex now or going to be in the future, then you must learn about and utilize contraceptives. Contraceptives are a way to prevent pregnancy. Do your own research and choose the contraceptive that works best for you.
USE YOUR VOICE
One of the best ways to make an impact is to spread the word on what’s happening in our government. Be sure to use your voice to educate others on how to stay safe and protected. Instagram is an excellent tool to spread awareness, and it’s right at your fingertips. Continue to learn because there are new developments constantly. Stay up to date on information so you aren’t blindsided.
There aren’t many things that scare me, but America’s blatant disregard for the lives of women does. “The land of the free.” Precisely, unless we’re talking about the freedom to choose what it is that I want to do with my body. I’m scared, America, and you should be, too. Because this isn’t the end of this conversation, it’s only the beginning.