Trying times

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00_DrEFayeWilliamsStrange things are going on these days!  There’s so much evil in the world that it’s hard to wake up and remain hopeful for better days.  Many days I wonder, “When will the ‘strangeness’ end?”

In the context of ending strangeness, many powerful, conscious, well-dressed Black women gathered to conduct a prayer vigil and speak out at the US Capitol.  After several unsuccessful attempts to make an appointment with Senate Leader McConnell, other women leaders and I went to his office to have a word about setting a date for a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General.  After waiting for a very long time outside the office, a staff member agreed to a meeting, but only with Kentucky constituents in our group and not in his office.  Instead, the meeting was to be held in the hallway with security guards watching over us.

We were a large group of women – mostly Black women, but not all Black women.  We were orderly and civil, but, it seems, some members of Congress view all women as a threat.  Their actions indicate that some of them have us on their agenda everyday—trying to block rights we have already won and voting against any we try to gain.

Blatantly ignored
Senator McConnell was in his office.  We were told he was meeting with another group.  While we waited, approximately 20 White men came out of his office.  Unlike us, no security guards accompanied them to a pre-determined, “holding-area” in the hall in front of the Senator’s office.

When it was clear the Senator planned to ignore us, Barbara Williams-Skinner led us in prayer and we left, promising to return.  We left with the agreement to fast and pray until the Senator calls for a confirmation vote.

We were given the unreasonable excuse that a vote will not be scheduled until a pending Human Trafficking bill passes.  It should be noted that, more than human trafficking, Republicans are interested in including anti-abortion language in the bill.  Seemingly, they can only do one thing at a time, and they aren’t doing that very well.  We’re really in trouble with this Senate!

Another challenge we support is the effort to “Bring Back Our Girls”.  On the way to Senator McConnell’s office, our group joined a supporting press conference.  Two of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram — who later escaped — were present.  As hundreds of girls languish in captivity, Mr. McConnell, the new leader, is mute in the articulation of a role for our nation in finding them and stopping the brutality of this type of kidnapping directed at innocent women and girls.

Income inequity
While dealing with those two problems, we have Republicans pushing a budget that savages the already poor and marginalized.  Republicans now speak publicly to the issue of income inequity, yet they’re not concerned enough to make the rich pay their fair share of tax or raise the minimum wage.

Lest you think I only criticize Republicans, I have a portion for Democrats.  Several well-placed Democratic leaders have joined Republicans in their greater concern for the opinions and interests of the Israeli Prime Minister than in supporting our President and Secretary of State’s attempt to negotiate peace and avoid another senseless war!

What’s this nation coming to with its worldwide display of disrespect for women and Black people on issues of justice?  How can those on the right justify their efforts to destroy the families of millions of Brown people with their draconian deportation proposals?

In the natural, Hope runs thin.  The only alternative to these human failings is to turn to our faith that God will work it out!  Until then, join us in fasting and praying that all will be well — soon.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.

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