What We Missed

ACRJ asks women living in Oakland what they think about the anti-choice billboards targeting the black community. (Transcript after jump)

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I think it’s embarrassing. It’s kind of embarrassing to just put one nationality on blast like
that and just say, they’re the ones that do it the most, because I mean everyone does it.
But just the way that they’re putting it on blast and the way that they’re going about it – I
think that that is wrong. There’s a completely different way you can reach out to the
young girls who are having these abortions.

You have to think about it a lot before you bring someone into this world. I really feel
like abortion should always be a choice.

I think it’s a personal choice. I don’t think anyone should take away the right. If you
don’t want to have a child, then you don’t want to have a child, and that should always be
an option if you want to have an abortion, that’s a personal choice. That’s not for
someone to say that it’s right or wrong, or you can or cannot. I think if they just reached
out to them on more a personal note, not so much just you know, for everyone to see,
then it might change it. Have someone to teach sex education you know because I just
graduated 4 years ago and I never had sex ed. If it wasn’t for my mom to put it in my
face and tell it to me raw, and tell me exactly how I got here, I wouldn’t know – I think a
lot of people don’t know – they get caught up in the moment, and they’re young. If they
had on-site help at the schools and start young, because kids are having kids so young –
don’t wait till high school, honestly I think it should be like elementary, maybe middle
school. Start young, and teach them and they’ll know better. But if no one tells them,
then how can they know?


It’s infuriating. It’s like, how dare you come here, to the birthplace of the Panthers, and
co-opt this revolutionary language, something that was used to uplift us, especially at a
time when you know, it was almost like an insult to even call somebody Black. We took
that and we flipped it and made it into something positive. And then here these people
come co-opting that language and trying to fool us into thinking that they actually care
about black families, black children. And when I think about all of the time and resources
and money that go into putting these billboards up all over the city, its appalling to me
because if you really care about children and families, then there are so many other
things that we could be doing. What about the kids who already exist? What are we doing
for them? We’ve got issues going on in the public schools, in access to healthcare – and
yet this is what we’re focusing on? Here in my city? Like, no. It’s not acceptable. For
real. It makes me mad. It makes me just infuriated. The nerve of some people to just
come in here and think that we’re not going to say anything, we’re not going to notice, or
we’re going to jump on board because you used the cute little phrase that you think we’re
all going to get behind. I’m saying no. Black women are always being used as political
pawns, if we’re not like the welfare moms, we’re having too many kids, we’re having too
many abortions, we’re using up all the resources in the system. I mean it’s like which one
is it? Using us to further some agenda. It’s flat out – I’m just going to call it what it is –
it’s racist. The bottom line is, it’s an option that needs to be available for all women. And

I don’t think any woman really takes the decision liking it. It’s a very hard choice to
make. So, let that woman make it. Because nobody knows her situation, like her.


I don’t think that abortion should be illegal. I think it should be up to that person.
Hopefully a couple is making the decision; I know it’s not always that way. I don’t think
that right should be taken away from people. I think it’s totally a woman’s right to say
what is happening to her body. I’m definitely a proponent for that. I’m getting kind of
emotional about it, but definitely don’t put that on the sisters. We have done so much for
this country, more so than any other women. Black women have done that and we
continue to do that. Black women really want to make sure that we’re on top of our thing,
in terms of – if we don’t have anything else, we are the mothers, and we have to make
sure that we’re doing all we can to make sure that when we bring children into this world
that we’re going to do the best by them. And to teach our children from young that we
have a responsibility to ourselves, to our families, to our Gods, whatever that may be. So,
family, certainly a sense of community, being involved and teaching our children to be
part of their community, and being part of the improvement in the community.


I think it’s adding suffering to suffering, you know, and I know friends who have had
abortions and there’s an extreme amount of guilt, there’s an extreme amount of just
shame to this process, there’s an extreme sense of, you know, how did I get here, but this
is what I need to do – and there’s all these questions that already come up and then you’re
going to add language that was meant to empower on top of something that is very
personal, very private on some level and all of a sudden its blown up to be public and
disempowering, you know. I think that if I’m looking at my community and looking at
young women who are pregnant, who are trying to sort through theses decisions around
the health and wealth of their family or their community, like, this is not going to help at
all. This does not create dialogue. This creates personal turmoil for someone. Especially
where this one is positioned, it creates more strife. I live in West Oakland, I know that
I’m going to live right next to white folks, I know I’m going to live right next to Latino
folks, I know that its a diverse community that is not just Black. The words like this don’t
help folks to understand what I’m going through, or what’s important to me, or even see
my value as part of their community. I also think that we as women also need to have
those conversations around our sexuality, around intimacy, around decisions we make in
terms of partnership, around decisions that we make as far as family, and not feel like
we’re alone in those decisions.

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