By Leigh Creighton Bond • October 31, 2020•Writers in Residence
“There is no relative direction in the vastness of space. There is only yourself, your ship, your crew.” Commodore Paris to Captain Kirk
I found myself watching Star Trek Beyond all weekend. I regularly watch a lot of action and science fiction, but I do not think it’s just my habits that led me to a particular plot and theme. “Election anxiety” has joined the stage and the lexicon for COVID-19 times. While the entire world is wrapped in a zoom or IRL lesson on grappling with the unexpected and uncertainty, the question still presents itself, “what happens next?” To answer that question, Star Trek Beyond reminds me to turn to insight from the reproductive justice movement which remains ripe for inspiring a trek through the unknown.
Let's turn back time to four years ago -- to a time when collectively, America was processing that science fiction writer, Octavia E. Butler's predictions had born fruit. Just days after the 2016 Presidential election, I attended the Race Forward’s Facing Race Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees and speakers were still openly reeling from Donald Trump aka “45” winning the Presidential Election. Minutes into my experience, the group energy was almost overwhelming; I recall thankfully being in community with folks.
Days after that conference, I began a new role with a reproductive justice organization. It was also my first time working from within the reproductive justice movement, and almost immediately I began to understand that activists, policy makers, legislators, organizers, and supporters in the reproductive justice movement do not stop taking steps to advance the movement simply because of one political position, court case, or new legislation. Put differently, just as my career and personal life path has not been a beeline, the trajectory in the reproductive justice movement resembles an unpredictable squiggly line.
In 2016, many commentators posited the idea that Donald Trump’s election was the backlash to America’s first Black president and the progress of various social justice movements. So many concerns were lodged against the Donald Trump administration, including what would happen to the environment, LGBQTIA+ community, immigrants, racial minorities, and low income folks.
Backlashes in the reproductive justice movement are common. For example, a few years after the Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade, the Hyde Amendment was passed with devistatingly targeted effects on Black and other minority low income women seeking abortion care. Before and throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, the reproductive justice movement has had to address legislative attacks on abortion rights. In 2020, a newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice prior to the 2020 Presidential Election is just another reason to continue working to protect the reproductive rights and access for all.
Whatever happens next, as a lawyer who just started practicing again in 2020, I take solace in my history of making it through my past. The reproductive justice movement will continue beyond what happens next.