As April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention month, let us acknowledge the forced sterilization of socioeconomically disadvantaged women of color in the United States, as it qualifies under the effects of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” (1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).
Between 1973 and 1976, it is estimated that 3,406 Native American women were sterilized. While 20,000 sterilizations were performed in California between 1909 and 1979, African Americans and Latinos were disproportionally targeted through discriminatory policies funded by the U.S. government. In addition, about 150 women imprisoned in Corona and Chowchilla were coerced to sterilization between 2006 and 2010.
Consequently, let us acknowledge this ongoing problem as real and start to educate our communities about the subtle ways genocide can be imposed.
Liliana Vega, Fresno