A Black woman has saved us once again.
The moratorium on evictions in the U.S. expired at midnight on July 31, and Congress had no plans to resolve the issue before their six-week break.
While life post-vaccine has returned to a sort of normal, the pandemic is not actually over, and neither are the economic and social side effects.
The pandemic disproportionately impacted Black communities in the country, and if we had not known before that systems were not made with equity in mind, the pandemic has put a spotlight on those loopholes in social safety nets.
Representative Cori Bush, a freshman congresswoman from St. Louis, decided that at midnight on July 31 she would sit in protest on the U.S. Capitol steps until something was done. She invited leaders and citizens to sit in protest with her, and many joined her on the steps.
For more than five days, she and other representatives have demanded their colleagues come back to tend to the crisis.
Representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Jimmy Gomez (D-California) all joined her in solidarity along with Washingtonians.
As a result of pressure from her and other organizers, on Tuesday, the Biden administration extended the moratorium on evictions to some parts of the country until Oct. 3.
This is a small step and while the extension is extremely limited in its reach, we have witnessed the power of direct action. In an ideal world, we would not have to remind our representatives and government that housing is a basic human right.
Rep. Bush (D-Missouri) has shown us what the power of community can do. When months ago, white nationalists chose violence at the same location, women like Cori Bush chose to bear witness to the housing issue this county has long dealt with before the pandemic.
Before she was the freshman congresswoman from St. Louis, she experienced eviction and homelessness. She understands the struggle and, thus, the need for real reform.
While I think that many people with diverse life experiences can lead us, it is those who have known vulnerability that I trust to know what our neighbors need.
I will confess that I had hoped real change would come with the new administration, however, the oppression of the vulnerable and weary remains, just under a different name and party.
In our rush to “vote blue no matter who,” have we eased our vigilance over policymakers merely because of who the previous president was?
Promises made of student debt relief have been scoffed at by leaders and clearer pathways forward for DACA recipients have been denied by the courts and the administration.
Yes, promises were kept to maintain and rebuild U.S. relationships with other countries, but it seems that reforms that would truly help citizens have been delayed or dismissed.
While I truly believe that Black women have been the backbone of mobilizing voters and direct action, I think it is high time we stand (or sit) with them when invited to.
Despite my waning hope in well-established, senior policymakers and leaders, I see Rep. Cori Bush’s sit-in as a testimony to the power of our communal work. So, let us remember that there is power in numbers.
When the world around us says there is not enough, historically Black women have invited us to see the abundance around us if only we care and dare to listen.
When those driven by hate use their numbers to terrorize, let us stand with Black women inviting us to work toward our communal liberation.