Last month, I spent time in San Antonio, Texas, for a diversity in STEM conference. I had the chance to interview some amazing professionals of color, attend my second Pow Wow, hear Dr. Ellen Ochoa speak, the first Latina in spaaaaaace, and meet a queer arachnologist!
While I was surrounded by 4,000 underrepresented minority scientists talking about their science, culture, and community, there was something else brewing in the state.
Enter HB3859 and SB4, a double whammy of injustice. HB3859 is the legislation that allows adoption and foster care agencies to turn away qualified people who could care for kids in need. You know, those heathens like LGBTQ couples, interfaith, and (AUDIBLE GASP) single parents.
And check this out. The legislation blocks the state from canceling a contract with an agency that signs kids up for conversion therapy. Why? Well, “sincerely held religious beliefs” of course…
GUESS WHO IS OVERREPRESENTED IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM?!?!? LGBTQ youth who’ve often been displaced from their families for the selfsame religious beliefs.
And then there’s SB4, the angry little brother of Arizona’s SB 1070 and ugly cousin of Alabama’s HB 56 “show me your papers” laws that are deeply anti-immigrant and discriminatory. They say, “let’s legalize racial profiling and deport illegals”. Yes, LET’S. You know, you’re right, we are totally on stolen land and should deport ourselves back to Europe. Except that we already used our “sincerely held religious beliefs” to convince ourselves that we are entitled to colonize everything the light touches, Simba.
(sigh) Some of the most incredible people in my life are ones who have opened their hearts to a little person that needed love and care. I’ve met undocumented youth who embody everything that is right about this country. Students on their way to becoming doctors, social workers, drought ecologists (is that oddly specific? sorry Evelyn), civil rights attorneys, educators, and entrepreneurs.
I try to put myself in the shoes of the legislators who pushed for these bills and I don’t understand. When do the tides turn away from fear? When do we stop sabotaging ourselves?