We are marching backward into the past.
Recently, there’s been an unrelenting, targeted and cruel nationwide effort to strip rights from the most vulnerable among us. A far-right movement is working to eliminate any measure that promotes diversity, inclusion and equality.
Intelligent, honest discussions about history, race and real-world realities are being limited, white-washed or outright banned. Policies that intentionally seek to impede a level playing field are being passed. And worst yet: long-held rights that generations have fought for are being severely rolled back.
In recent months, the U.S. Supreme Court and Indiana Supreme Court delivered a series of devastating blows that will make Indiana and the nation less equal.
First, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, a policy that was only necessary to redress the pervasive practice of discrimination in jobs and higher learning. Though the Supreme Court argued their reversal was because affirmative action promoted inequality, anyone, especially Clarence Thomas, knows that is false. Affirmative action was created because of racism, which kept qualified Black and minority folks out of jobs and schools. And it is the lingering racism in America’s institutions that led to it being eradicated.
I dread the impact this roll-back will have on higher education for Black and minority groups. We know discrimination has resulted in certain people not being considered for roles, yet our Supreme Court took away a tool that helped combat that. This is not what progress toward a more free, more just, more perfect nation looks like. This is what marching backward to a past where discrimination was widely practiced and accepted looks like.
Just days after Black and minority Americans lost equal access to higher learning, our state supreme court ruled in favor of Republicans’ extreme abortion ban. I spoke adamantly against this ban before and after the decision, because I know this will mean desperation, devastation and increased maternal mortality—particularly for already underserved Black and minority women. This is walking backward to a past where women died because they could not access necessary and important healthcare.
After those massive policy blows, the U.S. Supreme Court also struck down President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness. Every one of these decisions will overwhelmingly impact the lives of the most underserved and resource-limited.
When it comes to abortion rights, it will be Black and minority women who suffer the most. They are the ones who will lack access to care, and consequently die at higher rates. Banning abortion in Indiana, when abortion is legal just across state lines, will not stop abortion. It will only make it tougher, more dangerous and less accessible for Hoosiers who don’t have the means to access care elsewhere.
Without a doubt, the attacks on education will also be most directly felt by Black and minority groups, who will now face increased roadblocks in higher education. Black Americans, Black women in particular, also have the most student debt in the nation, and can now no longer look forward to relief to help them out.
It’s clear that the rights, access and quality of life of Black and minority people, especially women, are under threat. Our ability to live free and equal lives is becoming harder one policy roll-back at a time. And make no mistake: these attacks are not accidental and they will not stop. States like Texas have already proposed legislation to eliminate no-fault divorce, which means women could be held captive in marriages if their spouses don’t agree to their wish for a divorce.
There is a massive movement working to push us back into a past when diverse groups and women had no voice and few rights. If we want to stop the regression we’re witnessing, if we want to move forward and not backward and embrace freedom over fascism, Hoosiers have to show up at the Statehouse and at the ballot to let their voices be heard. We must unite in force to fight for basic human rights and for our freedom to pursue happiness without being blocked by an extreme government.
If we are to stop this march backward to the past, we must come together in the march forward.