May 5, 2022

Supreme Court Injustice and the Work Ahead

Demonstrators at a pro-choice rally in Washington D.C.

I am angry and frustrated. But am I surprised? Not really. As a woman, as a mother of two teenage daughters, as a person paying attention, as a human being living in this nation, it’s hard to be surprised by much anymore. The Supreme Court's appalling draft majority opinion (leaked, but confirmed) to overturn decades of legal precedent and "settled law" is a symptom of a society that has never taken the ever-present reality of structural sexism or the fight for gender justice seriously enough. That is plain to see. From reproductive rights to wage gaps, the injustice is glaring. It cannot continue.

Abortion rights are human rights. Reproductive rights are a bellwether of democracy. And when we're talking about abortion rights, in this state and in this country, we're talking about racial and economic justice too. Because the truth is that these regressive attacks disproportionately impact Black and Brown people, and people who are living in poverty. If a human being does not have sovereignty over their own body, what other rights can be guaranteed?

While Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion focuses its attack on abortion rights, the thinking behind it makes it clear that the driving force of his argument is about control: controlling the bodies and lives of those who are the most vulnerable and the least able to access or afford reproductive care, including trans people.

After all, gender justice is not just a women's issue. It is a human rights issue. When we push Oregon closer to real gender justice, we are pushing closer to justice and freedom for all Oregonians. Thankfully, societies are malleable. They can be changed when enough people see the intersections between their own lives and the lives of neighbors, friends and strangers — at the intersections of identities and values where people actually live.

Last year, Meyer's trustees approved purposefully practicing philanthropy through an anti-racist and feminist perspective. And earlier this year, we approved a new mission to guide Meyer's future, one focused on accelerating racial, social and economic justice for the collective well-being of Oregon's lands and peoples. Our commitment to applying an intersectional feminist perspective and centering community wisdom will form our gender justice work, ensuring our grants and voice are meeting the moment.

Anytime I find myself angry and frustrated, I become more dedicated to fighting injustice. I hope you're with me. The fight will be hard, but it has to be worth it. For all our sakes.

In solidarity,

— Janet