4 Little Girls + Dr. Tiller: 2 Murderous Acts At Churches

Last week I was having a conversation with someone about Katrina and how despite our having a Black President many people are still unable to return to New Orleans. The Obama administration has plans to offer mobile homes to some of those still displaced that are to be sans the chemicals that have made many sick. The person I was speaking with mentioned how much they enjoyed the Spike Lee documentary on Katrina. I thought it was some of his best work as well. I actually prefer when he sticks to historical events instead of feature films because he does not know how to write female characters. That got me thinking about his earlier documentary on the 16th Street church bombing that claimed the lives of 4 Little Girls. I believe we must continue to say their names so we don’t forget they were human beings worthy of protection. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson.
The use of violence at houses of worship by fundamentalists (or what I’d rather call racist/sexists hell-bent on dominating by terror and violence) is nothing new. It was a desperate exercise in maintaining white privilege that led some men to decide to kill African-Americans where they worshipped. It’s a sacred place for some and tends to be a place of refuge for many. As if killing them on the streets and in their homes hadn’t sufficed. Thankfully the public outrage was such that it gave others pause that there were some lines you don’t cross. Unfortunately today there is no such decorum. As we examine the aftermath of the cold-blooded execution of Dr. George Tiller I cannot help but think how these scenarios are tied.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview by Denene Millner with Maxine McNair from 1997:

MAXINE McNAIR: All bad things should be talked about, so that they won’t be repeated. Otherwise one day the world is going to suddenly cease to be. We’re letting hate take over – look at what happened in Oklahoma City. We’re too busy listening to gossip while our lives are going to hell in a handbasket…..Maybe this movie will help people understand that it was something that didn’t need to be. Violence just doesn’t solve anything.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Yet I’m not necessarily getting the sense that many others are seeing the similarities. Not in who was harmed, but why. As well as the mentality behind those that are willing to carry out such acts of violence and violation. White supremacy is like a virus that mutates and like HIV it can’t be cured. Any treatments used on it are swallowed up as it takes on another form to continue its decimation of the host body. The only thing you can do is take a certain medical cocktail that keeps it at bay but it requires daily diligence. Otherwise that’s it!
Again, this isn’t about arguing about whether abortion is “okay”. If it doesn’t involve you personally you just need to mind your own business. Dr. Tiller’s clinic, Women’s Health Care Services Inc. will now permanently close. All the women he serviced – including the ones who did carry their pregnancies to term – now have to seek another health care provider. If it was me I’d be so angry…and scared. Wealthy women and those with connections will ALWAYS be able to get the care they need. It’s the working class, poor and women and girls of color who will get the short end of the stick.

Now is NOT the time to stand on the sidelines watching. It’s psychological warfare, but I’d also dare to hope that it will result in a shift in consciousness as well as policy. Like combating HIV. People were forced to adapt new behaviors in order to prevent the epidemic from wiping out the majority population. We may not ever be able to get humans to stop trying to kill each other or derive pleasure from oppressing others, but we can certainly lessen the payoff for them to do so.

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