Much of what you wrote I know but you did bring to the surface a few issues I hadn’t considered or at least not thought of recently. Bottom line is that any movement of change has to include all socioeconomic groups to work. Financially comfortable people of any color cannot instigate true change without the participation of those who have the greatest need for thechange. Their socioeconomic status is contrary to change that elevates anyone below them on the social, economic, and racial ladders.

You mentioned women of color staying home where it’s safe. That was an aha for me. How true! If white women, especially those who are middle or upper class, take time from work for demonstrations and meetings, they are likely to have paid vacation to use so their political activities don’t impact them financially or their income may not even be needed for their family to survive. If their employer or supervisor doesn’t agree with their activities or political leanings, they are less likely to lose their job than someone of color. Even the logistics of attending such gatherings or being part of activist groups can be daunting for those who live in certain areas or rely on public transportation. You brought to mind a black single mother I worked with long ago. She lived in the only place she could afford — a small mobile home in a trailer park known for its crime, particularly drug trafficking. She wanted desperately to be involved in a group that was trying to instigate changes in the school system for children with disabilities (her son and youngest sister had disabilities) but the meetings were at night. Her mother could care for her son and she had a car but she was stopped from participating by the crime in her neighborhood. Where she lived, the working people never went out at night. It just wasn’t safe to be arriving or leaving home after dark or to leave your home unattended. Being female increased the risks tremendously.

Our city has a bus system but routes are limited after 7 pm. For those who rely on busses, attending meetings at night may not even be possible. Or, a bus stop may be a long walk from their home, a walk that is dangerous at night particularly for a woman.

As I age, I am very aware of activities that older people don’t attend due to the time of day they occur. I am fine to drive at night and live in a safe area, but I certainly am less eager to be out running around at late hours than I once was. Many people I know in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s have difficulty driving at night and can’t participate in various groups because so many meetings and activities are at night.

I hadn’t thought of safety, in all its various forms, as an issue but it certainly is and more so for those of color.

Even as a white, self-employed woman who has no transportation issues and lives in a safe area, I participate in far less than I want to due to age and economic issues. I am extremely liberal but most of my clients are not. If I am too vocal in my opinions or if my face was plastered on the evening news regularly for my political activities, I could lose many clients and a big chunk of my income. I have to give great consideration to what I do and how I do it. And, now that I am a senior, physical limitations and personal safety must be weighed. My participation is limited because of these consequences. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for those of color who have so many more concerns to consider.

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