Maya Angelou Appearing on the New U.S. Quarter
Lakeesha Harris, host of Old Pro News, shares this:
To stigmatize someone means that you withhold power from them, denying them access to reach their full human potential and restricting their ability to thrive and live. Recently the U.S. Department of Mint embossed Dr. Maya Angelou’s likeness on the back of the U.S. quarter. I could take up the time of this podcast on the hypocrisy of placing a Black woman’s image on U.S. currency when we are the most underpaid, while being the most educated. And that the U.S. government, while placing Dr. Angelou on the back of the quarter, just voted down a measure to secure voting rights, which Dr. Angelou fought to secure.
What I most want to lift up to our audience is that before she was Dr. Maya Angelou, she was Maya the Sex Worker, a fact that she established in her memoir Gather Together in My Name. She navigated spaces of stigma and shame and criminalization for her survival. As the U.S. Treasury and others in political power chose to support a portion of her narrative, while invisibilizing the other, sex workers are being disenfranchised by banks and digital spaces where we can safely earn a living in a global pandemic.
Sex workers and sex related businesses were cut out of pandemic relief funds, even though we were as financially impacted as anyone else. Mastercard and other credit card companies are currently restricting online content creators from publishing adult entertainment. Payment processors like PayPal and banks like Chase continue to discriminate against anyone who has ever been associated with the sex industry. Because of bigoted beliefs and gross mischaracterization, sex workers our voices have been left out of EVERY story, even when those stories are about us.