It is an apt metaphor, woman of color as bridge. Always liminal. Permanently negotiating. A migrant between gender and race. That is what makes us different: we can never pick a side.
And here is another thing about bridges: they have to be strong. According to a recent report by the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU, Black and Latina women are disproportionately more likely to be poor, have trouble paying the bills, be worried about putting food on the table, and express concern about the accessibility of health insurance than their white counterparts, but they are among the least likely to benefit from the billions of dollars in stimulus funding being doled out to improve economic well-being in this country. However, I think it would be a mistake to view the women of color who face these challenges as passive “victims” of intersecting layers of oppression.
When I sit in church basements in the South Bronx, strategizing with a local community coalition, the vast majority of people I am talking with are women - women of color. The same is true of the immigrant rights organization I work with in Brooklyn. You cannot begin to comprehend the fight that is in the mothers I represent, who do daily battle with the health and education systems on behalf of their children. The foot soldiers of our modern-day civil rights movement are women of color, just as they were a generation ago, when women outnumbered men two-to-one in the local organizations feeding the Mississippi freedom struggle.
In a way, it is quite stunning that the group most disadvantaged within the socio-economic framework of American society would, historically and currently, be its most vital force for democracy."