The U.S. Supreme Court has become an unlikely source of positive social change this month, with two recent rulings falling, somewhat unexpectedly, on the side of gender equity and racial/immigrant justice. This included a landmark victory in bringing equal protections against employer discrimination for LGBTQ workers under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as a decision blocking the Trump administration’s attempts to end the DACA program, affirming the rights of Dreamers to continue living, working and going to school in the communities they call home by protecting these 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Yet what remains painfully clear is that there is still much work to be done in the fight for equity and justice, both in the halls of power and on the front lines of change in our communities, as evidenced, in just one example, by this week’s SCOTUS ruling to permit the “expedited removal” of rejected asylum seekers, a decision with devastating consequences for thousands of marginalized people seeking refuge from violence, fear and oppression — women, children, LGTQ and gender nonconforming individuals, people of color, ethnic and religious minorities, and those fleeing overwhelming poverty, danger, instability and trauma.
As women’s funds, foundations and gender justice funders, we vow to continue our work to get resources to the movements and organizations demanding a world free from the institutions and violence rooted in racism, sexism, xenophobia and misogyny. But, as long as the basic human and civil rights of any person remain up for debate by those in power — whether in the courts, legislative chambers, state and cultural institutions, or in how we choose to invest funding and resources — true equity, justice and freedom from oppression will never be possible.
We remain highly conscious of this fact as we look ahead with anticipation and anxiety to next week, when the high court is expected to hand down rulings on two more highly consequential decisions for women, trans and nonbinary people and communities of color. While the outcome of these cases on birth control coverage and abortion access is still uncertain, here is what we do know: our right to bodily autonomy and personal decision-making power over our own lives and futures are not now and will never be up for debate. The ability to determine if, when or how to parent is one of the most critically important determinants of a person’s long-term economic security, safety and health. As gender equity funders and women’s funds and foundations we remain steadfast in our commitment to fight for gender and racial justice, to build community power, dismantle systems of oppression and remove barriers to accessing the resources, supports and opportunities that allow all women, families and communities to thrive.
Yours for equity and justice,
Women’s Funding Network
President & CEO