It’s Time for a New “Great Migration,” …… for Women

If you ever need a bitchin’ session to build strategy for dealing with injustice and political bullshit, call a Black friend, and pour a few drinks. We know injustice.

It’s Time for a New “Great Migration,” ……  for Women
Photo by Théo Dorp on Unsplash

I’m the product of the Great Migration of 1910-1970. My parents were among the 6 million+ African Americans who fled openly racist and oppressive southern states and moved to the west, north and Midwest. I remember the talk of my uncle’s letter to my father about California, “there’s gold in the streets here.” From Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, and Alabama families moved to Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and other urban centers to feel safe, to offer their children better schools, and a better quality of life. It wasn’t perfect, but it beat the lynching and unrestrained racist acts of violence.

Fast forward to today. Women’s liberties are under attack in those same southern states, and with a few others. Under the façade of a mythical religious calling, bigoted elected officials apparently are using abortion restrictions to produce more white babies. I’ll never believe they care if non-white babies are born or aborted. And these same politicians and judges do little to support the wellbeing of children who are with us now.

The latest version of the Supreme Court has opened the way to prevent women from choosing whether they have a baby or not. The same court failed to acknowledge the male role in all of this since no woman, save the Virgin Mary, has become pregnant without a man involved. But the esteemed justices didn’t find it in their hateful hearts to restrict or control men.

My suggestion is for women of child-bearing years to do what so many of my ancestors did… leave! Get out of those states! And frankly, the way things are going with voter suppression, all non-whites should be packing up, as well.

New York Times columnist, Jamelle Bouie gives this assessment and warning:

The conservative movement has, through the agency of the Republican Party, also weaponized federalism, states’ rights, and the counter-majoritarian institutions of the American system. But they’re not using them to defend a localized social order; they’re using them to create and extend one beyond the borders of so-called red states to the rest of the country.
To that end, conservatives on the Supreme Court have used their majority to either shield Republican-led states from federal interference — invalidating much of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and freeing lawmakers to engage in extreme partisan gerrymandering — or to prevent Democrat-led states from encroaching on conservative priorities like gun rights or an expansive vision of religious freedom — so much so that it swallows the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The court has also freed Republican-led states to try to extend their authority beyond their borders. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, overturning Roe v. Wade, Republican lawmakers have introduced bills that try to curb abortion with limits on the right of travel between states.

But Bouie also wrote:

The Republic is not defenseless. The Constitution gives our elected officials the power to restrain a lawless Supreme Court, protect citizens from the “sinister legislation” of the states, punish those states for depriving their residents of the right to vote and expel insurrectionists from Congress.

But until then, take a lesson from African Americans: Get the f…. k out!

The Great Migration was one of the largest movements of people in United States history. The driving force behind the mass movement was to escape racial violence, pursue economic and educational opportunities, and obtain freedom from the oppression of Jim Crow.

It is often broken into two phases, following both world wars. The First Migration was from 1910 to 1940 with relocation to New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

The expansion of the defense industry during World War II brought many more jobs for African Americans and encouraged a massive migration that was active until the 1970s. During this period, more people moved North, and further west to California's major cities including Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. And within twenty years of World War II, 3 million more Black people migrated throughout the United States.

Again, this wasn’t perfect. Redlining, resentment, and other negative experiences resulted, but to quote my father, “I didn’t know what I was going to, but I knew damn well it would be better than what I was leaving.” South Louisiana is what he was leaving, and he never returned. Being disliked was preferable to being killed.

I’m not saying give up. We all must fight forces that attempt to silence our voices and votes. We have to show up to challenge rouge courts and sinister laws; however, we can do that from places more aligned with human decency and respect for democracy.

I was so proud of the corporations that stepped up offering to help women protect their health, well-being, and right to control their own futures following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. Frankly, letter to the law, a few of the new justices aren’t the most qualified for their positions. It is apparent they were placed there to further a disjointed and sick political agenda at the expense of women and non-white people.

Extreme circumstances often require extreme actions, which is why I suggest a strategic retreat from the states of hate. In military terms, this could include a version of setting metaphorical mines or booby traps during or before withdrawal, leading the enemy into prepared artillery barrages, or the use of scorched earth tactics. A lovely parting gift. But most importantly…. leave!

Myra Jolivet is a storyteller. First a TV news anchor and reporter. Then came PR work and consulting. That's where she is today - banging her head against the wall - trying to help CEOs and political candidates tell their stories well. Myra writes a series of murder mysteries She was a kid with an imaginary friend. That says it all.