As we get closer to the midterm elections, I would like to take the opportunity to talk about Shoe Up for Justice (SUFJ), our fashion-centered social justice initiative dedicated to spreading voter rights awareness and raising funding for voting rights organisations like Fair Fight, founded by Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Following the historic 2018 midterm elections, which saw 90+ women elected to congress, I was mobilised to personally participate in the political process. After considering my resources and meeting with my mentor, who has served as a political adviser, I decided to sell my decades-long shoe archive to contribute to the fight of preserving, upholding, and restoring the right to vote as a key measure in confronting political turmoil in the US; and in addition, to ensure that American democracy functions as envisioned (for all) by the founding fathers.
SUfJ launched on Juneteenth 2020, and a little over a year later, the current national conservative-base led attack on the integrity of voting rights fueled by Donald J. Trump's false accusation of a stolen election. This is the exact sort of scenario that encouraged me to create this initiative in the first place. According to the Brennan Center, the 2022 midterm elections will present voters with new hurdles when casting their ballots, as a significant number of state legislatures have passed restrictive election interference laws. Laws are restrictive if they make it harder for eligible Americans to register, stay on the voter rolls, and/or vote as compared to existing state law. Election interference laws open the door to partisan interference in elections, or threaten the people and processes that make elections work. The Brennan report indicates that both types of legislation appear to be directly linked to the election fraud claims spread by Trump and his supporters.
Pretty Birds, to challenge the Trumpian war against this fundamental pillar of our democracy, it is critical that you cast your vote, encourage your family and friends to vote and assist members of your community who are in need in getting to polling stations.
The Supreme Court's revocation of the constitutional right to abortion afforded by Roe v. Wade with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this past Summer presents another urgent call to action, as womens’ fundamental liberty of agency over their reproductive rights is placed in the hands of state legislatures who may not represent them, similarly positioned women or their communities' holistic interests at large. Since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark legislation, experts have weighed in, emphasising how Black, Latinx, Asian and Native American women will be disproportionately affected as the most common victims of historical barriers to reproductive health services because of systemic inequality. The various consequences that women of color will bear with the wave of near complete abortion bans triggered by SCOTUS decision is dismal. BIPOC women will be impacted emotionally and socially as they are forced to continue unwanted pregnancies. The already shockingly high maternal mortality rate in Black women will increase as they are forced to complete pregnancies. And severe poverty looms for women of color barred from abortion considering the hefty cost of prenatal care, birth, children’s health care, housing and other expenses.
We can not sit back while our sisters are cast into impoverished states of existence. To avoid retrogressive marginalisation in our communities and challenges to our rights, we must hold lawmakers accountable. Our votes are our voice. Let’s use them to elect legislators who respect the democratic process and lift up every member of society, and not just a few.
It is thus critical that we keep our feet on the ground and our heel on the vote. Please join me by supporting voting rights one luxury step at a time.
Equality for all,