Black Silence and the Abortion Debate

George Tiller’s death should have civil rights activists up in arms. Where are they when black women’s lives are at stake?

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The abortion debate is so heated—and increasingly, again, so dangerous—that many of us choose to opt out of it. What the events of the past few weeks should remind us is that we cannot afford to sit silent. We must push ourselves and our black organizations to be present and vocal in an interracial, intergenerational, cross-interest movement, that memorializes Tiller’s untimely death and assures all women, especially black women, unprecedented reproductive liberty.

Salamishah Tillet is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the non-profit organization, A Long Walk Home, Inc., which uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to document and to end violence against underserved women and children.

Salamishah Tillet is a rape survivor and co-founder of A Long Walk Home, a nonprofit that uses art to end violence against girls and women. She is also an associate professor of English studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Sites of Slavery: Citizenship, Racial Democracy, and the Post-Civil Rights Imagination. She is working on a book about civil rights icon Nina Simone.

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