Tennesseans are being denied access to the necessary resources and services to live healthy and vibrant lives, and this has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.
As COVID-19 has uncovered the crises of racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression, it has become clearer than ever that those in power prioritize profit over our health and lives. This year we have seen the introduction of another slew of policies that treat people as disposable, punish us for our identities, and continue to create a hierarchy of who is more deserving of care and concern. These policies actively harm the health and well-being of all Tennesseans.
What’s at stake is the civil rights of pregnant people, LGBTQ people, and people of color.
- Anti-abortion politicians have enacted laws in Tennessee that criminalize pregnancy outcomes. Reproductive health care restrictions feed into mass incarceration through surveillance and arrests of pregnant people and new parents. And likewise, mass incarceration feeds into lower reproductive health care outcomes - for example, toxic stress from contact with the criminal legal system contributes to higher infant mortality in Black communities.
- Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are over-represented in the criminal legal system due to abandonment by their communities and victimization in their schools. When families do embrace their children’s LGBTQ identity and fight for their children’s right to exist and thrive, they are at risk of being labeled abusers or even criminalized through child abuse laws. LGBTQ youth are criminalized directly through harsher penalties at school and sex offender labels.
- Our criminal legal system punishes people of color and people who are poor more harshly. Black people are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of white people and one in 10 Black children has a parent behind bars. The criminal legal system entraps poor defendants in cycles of debt, probation, and incarceration and that harm disproportionately impacts communities of color.
We know that these issues are interconnected. All of these policies are part of a larger oppressive vision of White supremacy, misogyny, and transphobia. We deserve better. Today, we ask you to join us in fighting to:
- END MASS INCARCERATION!
- MAKE PARENTHOOD AND ABORTION ACCESSIBLE!
- PROTECT TRANSGENDER YOUTH!
Join us in moving Tennessee towards increased access to resources and care for all of its diverse residents!