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JULIANNE MALVEAUX

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Lots of women’s organizations commemorate Equal Pay Day, which this year was April 5. It meant that women, in general, would have had to work all of 2016, and until April 5, to earn the same amount of money that a man earned in 2016. Few will recognize July 31, 2017, which is the day by which African American women will have to work to earn the same money a man earned last year—seven extra months! A Latina woman will work until October, or nearly 10 extra months, to earn the same money a man earned.

I wonder about our “women’s coalitions” when majority women’s organizations, like the National Organization for Women, are silent for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.  Does it matter to them? Maybe not.  It matters when they want to present a multiracial, multicultural “united front” at a Women’s March, but less so at other times.  The lesson, Black women, is a lesson some sisters raised in 1991, when Anita Hill testified in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.  People had all kind of explanations for Hill’s testimony, most of them woefully wrong and viewed through a lens, darkly.  Led by feminists Elsa Barkley Brown, Deborah King and Barbara Ransby, more than 1500 women raised enough money to pay for an ad in the New York Times on Nov.17, 1991.  The ad, titled  “African American Women in Defense of Ourselves” (AAWIDO), reminded Black women that no one should speak for us, except us.  No one can be relied on to defend us, except us.  And no one can be depended on to celebrate us, but us.  No one can lead advocacy for our equal pay, but us.

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