WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this month, Delegate Danielle Walker, West Virginia’s only Black female lawmaker and a National NOW board member, received a grotesque, racist email that depicted a hooded Ku Klux Klan member giving a Nazi salute, with a message comparing her views on reproductive rights to the killing of children by Nazis. While Delegate Walker is not the only state official who supports legislation that would remove all restrictions on abortion, she was the only one to receive the email from West Virginians for Life, an extreme anti-abortion group. The group’s leader also posted the vile message on Facebook, targeting Walker by name.
This attack, which Delegate Walker rightfully called the “modern-day digital equivalent of burning a cross” in her front yard, was an intimidation tactic pulled directly out of a playbook from the Jim Crow era. Delegate Walker has courageously served her community and the state of West Virginia, despite ongoing threats to her and her family’s safety, simply because she represents something different.
White nationalists are leading the anti-abortion movement, which has long been tied to clinic bombings, provider assassinations and other acts of terror. It’s no accident that the only woman of color elected in West Virginia is the target of this racist, hate-fueled campaign. But the fight for reproductive justice for ALL women cannot be stopped by small groups of violent, bigoted extremists.
In Delegate Walker’s own words:
“Harassment and intimidation of me as a public official in the performance of my legislative duties … is illegal in West Virginia. Targeting me – the only Black woman in the West Virginia Legislature – with a picture of an angry KKK member throwing a Nazi salute is just that – harassment and intimidation. I’m not the only pro-choice lawmaker in West Virginia but I am the only one targeted with a KKK threat. I will not stand by or stand back. I have chosen to take a stand against West Virginians for Life, a pro-life organization.”
This attack is yet another reminder that we must protect Black women more than ever. We are part of a sisterhood and cannot – must not – allow any woman to fight alone when she needs us most. The National Organization for Women joins the West Virginia Chapter of NOW and the Morgantown Chapter of NOW to proudly stand with Delegate Danielle Walker, in support of West Virginia women, and all those fighting for an intersectional feminist future.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.