Home African Americans Video: In Powerful Speech, Del. Jackie Hope Glass Urges That We “honor...

Video: In Powerful Speech, Del. Jackie Hope Glass Urges That We “honor the enslaved mothers, the wet nurses, my ancestors, whose liquid gold coursed through the bloodlines of many in this nation”

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See below for a powerful speech by recently elected Del. Jackie Hope Glass (D-Norfolk), delivered earlier this afternoon on the Virginia House of Delegates floor. Great, great job by Del. Glass, on an important and very timely/relevant topic!

“In this age of parents’ rights, I’d like to dispense a little bit of American history with regards to the topic. Because this recent iteration has me sitting with the fact that I feel like it wasn’t designed to include parents like me and also kind of reconcile with the fact that it never really has in law and liberty.

I’d like to share the history of the non-consenting wet nurse. Wives of slave owners oftentimes…forcefully separated these new mothers from their infants to serve as wet nurses to their own children. The enslaved mothers were often beaten and milked like cows to feed European-American babies…Because of enslavement and wet nursing, the invaluable breast milk was often referred to as ‘liquid gold’…But the sole beneficiaries were European-American children, while cow’s milk or goat milk were fed as a substitute to enslaved children. This often resulted in a high mortality rate and susceptibility to disease in the early childhood of those children…

In 2022, with health disparities Americans of African descent and descendants of their captors, it runs really really really deep. We have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease…asthma…They’re rooted in our beginnings and exacerbated by our unwillingness to connect them to the past. While none of us participated in or  are current victims of this practice, I implore that we exercise our empathy muscle and recognize that Black families are still living with the psychological, financial and socio-political consequences of being products or being in service of…

So today, I ask that we kind of cease fire in this war on parenthood and honor the enslaved mothers, the wet nurses, my ancestors, whose liquid gold coursed through the bloodlines of many in this nation. Though my foremothers and forefathers were not the beneficiaries of the largesse of those women’s breasts, we should all  certainly acknowledge and honor their forced sacrifice  to all the children and mothers of America, because this is American history.”

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