By Amanda Hendler-Voss
Becky Rafter could have been among the 67% of white women voters in Alabama who cast their lot with Roy Moore. She grew up all over the South, including an Alabama small town shaped by white flight. Reared in a household of modest means in rental housing, her parents budgeted every dollar. Their financial planning, aid, and scholarships allowed her to sometimes attend private school, with the added help of white privilege. Maybe it was growing up queer in the South or the dissonance of the segregated societies of her childhood. Perhaps it was the college education that linked questions about the role the U.S. played in Central America in the 80s to our nation’s history of conquest and enslavement. Rafter began asking the hard questions and never looked back.
She now serves as Executive Director of Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions (GA WAND), a women-led organization promoting peace and policies that counter state violence, militarism, and nuclear stockpiling. GA WAND is a leader among a coalition of organizations dedicated to climate justice in the South, particularly in relationship to the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex and nuclear power Plant Vogtle, both of which abut the Savannah River in Burke County. Like many eco/feminist/peace organizations, GA WAND’s origins reveal a predominantly white, well-heeled cadre of educated women as its founding core of decision-makers. Rafter, in collaboration with Black activist Dianne Valentin, who now serves as the Board President, is out to change that. Together, they labor to change the face and culture of GA WAND.
For more information, contact Emily@georgiawand.org.