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Standing Firm in Our Power: Response to Supreme Court Rulings

Catalyst Miami Staff

The monumental decisions made by the Supreme Court last week have filled many of us with dread for the imminent harms to our people and planet, and for what political power-holders with extremist views may try to do next. Despite that, as we continue to process what these rulings mean for us as individuals and as a society, we must remember to breathe, carve out time for joy and self-care, and reinvigorate ourselves to go boldly into the fight ahead. 

After nearly 50 years of precedent, the Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, stripping away half the population’s constitutional right to make deeply personal decisions about our own health, safety, and well-being, and that of our families. Now on the line are the bodies and futures of millions of women and girls, especially those with little to no social safety net. 

As the Miami Workers Center wrote, “This ruling extends far beyond making abortions difficult to access; it is about criminalizing, humiliating, and repressing poor and working class women and mothers.” In a nation with no guaranteed health care or other social supports and protections, this ruling is the cruelest punishment on women and girls — and for those without ample access to resources and opportunity, it is intended to keep them there. 

In West Virginia v. EPA, the high court rolled back the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon emissions. The Supreme Court has neither expertise in climate science nor a way of measuring whether, and to what extent, emissions regulations have a large impact on the economy. Nonetheless, the Court’s decision makes it harder to control the actions of one of the world’s largest polluters: utilities, which are responsible for around 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This ruling severely limits the federal government’s tools and ability to fight climate change.

As Asset Funders Network describes, the Supreme Court’s decisions racialize opportunity by law, exacerbate inequity, and threaten economic security in communities where so many have been working to grow it. The facts: Black women are more likely to live in contraception deserts, and women without abortion access experience greater financial stress and debt due to decreased educational opportunities and lack of labor-force participation. Racist zoning codes make Black, brown and Indigenous communities more likely to live near power plants and other industrial facilities, and suffer greater health consequences as a result. 

Yet, amid these chilling rulings and their implications, an important fact remains: We are not powerless. 

Writer Rebecca Traister reminds us that despair is not an option. As those who are well-acquainted with “fighting back against hard-won rights being regressed” know, action is the only path forward. 

All over the world and throughout history, people have risen up in times like this and refused to relinquish their power or go backwards. In Miami like in cities everywhere, people have been building grassroots movements, demanding progress, and taking responsibility for protecting what’s theirs, knowing that no one else can be relied upon to do so. We protect us.  

What we need is to change the systems that do not serve us and build new systems on a foundation of human-centered, non-reformist reforms. We need to expand, not curtail, access to life-saving health care, clean air for all, and equitable opportunities for prosperity. These are core tenets of our work at Catalyst Miami, and we will keep centering our programs and advocacy around them. No matter what, we will continue to be an organization that vehemently supports and defends the rights of people to determine their own lives. 


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