Texas Standard has invited listeners to share their reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Ezriel Wilson, an artist, mother and advocate for women and an art history undergrad at the University of Texas at Arlington, sent in these thoughts.
When I got the news about Roe v. Wade being overturned, I actually was working on a painting and was planning to go check on an exhibition that I have here in Waxahachie called Return to Sender: The Right to Reproductive Rights, which features eight of my IDEAS Fellowship works that I painted from 2021 to 2022.
So, in all of this work that I put in to create and bring awareness as a Texas woman, mother, student, artist and advocate, I, as well as others, am outraged. To believe that we now live together through a time of such division and control is unreal, dreamlike, if you will – not in that airy, soft dream of clouds that tastes like cotton candy and floating, but a dream trapped within the question of what does this mean?
What does this feel like to be a woman who’s had her bodily autonomy thrown into the hands of the government? To have the Supreme Court allow the state of Texas to decide what it knows best for myself, my children and others with female reproductive organs.
This is earth-shaking, feeling the pressure of the glass, which so many women and individuals before us worked so hard to shatter. To decide that regardless of circumstance, we are only a number like herded cattle forced to birth. No individual of any age is protected as our access is cut off at the knees. A feeble domino staggering on the edge as we fear that it prepares to topple not just the last 49 years of progress that we’ve made, but an endless onslaught of dominoes falling into each other, interlaced with trigger laws to ripple outward and insist on continuing to rip away human rights from others.
In studying art history, as well as the relationships between religions throughout time and art and the expression of artists during life changing events in history, one thing feels apparent to me, echoing listlessly since Friday when I got the news. It begins with the divine feminine: suppress the source, the power of woman; make her small; make the individual feel powerless, and the pressure on the collective which they place from the abuse of power and religion within the government.
We have to break this cycle. We all have a mother, a sister, a friend, a cousin, or someone that we love who has had an abortion. We all know someone who needs access, who needed the support and has been afraid and deserves love. One in four individuals has had an abortion – though they may not tell you, those people need a voice.
The feminine is the center of life. It contains so much power and yet has experienced the boots of the patriarchy, endlessly walking circles on them. So many individuals are affected by this, and so many individuals are terrified because it doesn’t just stop here. If they know that they can do this to those with female reproductive organs, where will they stop?
The Right to Reproductive Rights was created in the wake of Greg Abbott’s signing of the SB 8 bill into effect after we held a protest on May 21st, 2021. And as an artist, seeing the reality that we feared would come to fruition – the overturning of Roe v Wade is actually reality – it’s gut-wrenching. We have to stand up. We have to speak out. We have to show up and vote, especially in Texas. If we could just get more people to vote, then together we can spark change.
There has been an uproar around the country, and that has been the most beautiful part about this. Go beyond the social media. Get out there and be a voice. We cannot be afraid. Fear is simply where they want to keep us. Friday night, here in Waxahachie, we hosted a vigil for the death of our bodily autonomy. Here, I’ll be involved in various marches, rallies and protests in the DFW area. Find your reproductive justice hub and see what you can do to help. Right now, more than ever, volunteerism and activism is vital.
This isn’t just about us. This is about the future. Our children are living through yet another pivotal time in their lives for the millionth time, and it’s absolutely unreal. I am a mother. I support abortion, and I will not rest until this is right.
You can feel free to check out the exhibition down in Waxahachie: It is installed at the Ellis County Democratic Party office on 215 East Main in downtown, and it will be installed there until further notice. Stop by any time. I hope that this reaches you and that it speaks to somebody out there to just speak out. Thank you.