Statement from Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s…
WASHINGTON — Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as transportation secretary, making him the first openly gay Cabinet secretary. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell issued the following statement:
“Congratulations to Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to serve as a Cabinet secretary. His appointment is an important example of President Biden keeping his promise to ensure that his administration reflects the full diversity of the United States. Additionally, we are encouraged by Secretary Buttigieg’s commitment to invest in and expand the public transportation infrastructure in an equitable and inclusive manner.
“He pledges to recognize the ways in which disparities in the ttransportation infrastructure intersect with and contribute to racial and economic disparities and racial segregation. While the positive impact of expanding access to an improved transportation infrastructure will be felt across the nation, it will have an especially critical impact on Black and low-income communities, who lack the same access to public transportation that richer, whiter communities have enjoyed and benefited from for decades, due to long-standing policy failures rooted in white supremacy.
“As the U.S. Department of Transportation embarks on new infrastructure development and expansion, Black women and families call on Secretary Buttigieg to take full advantage of the opportunity this presents to address and begin to undo some of the devastation brought upon Black communities by the freeway system under President Eisenhower, when highway construction forced Black families out their homes and devastated Black businesses and communities. We urge him to stand by his pledge to ensure that the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of color are heard and their rights are respected during all infrastructure projects. We urge the secretary to use such projects to help strengthen impacted and underserved communities and to use transportation infrastructure as a tool to advance racial equity.”
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national-state partnership focused on lifting up the voices of Black women leaders at the national and regional levels in our fight to secure reproductive justice for all women, femmes and girls. Our eight strategic partners are Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc. SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.