By Auditi Guha

Raised by her grandmother in North Carolina, Chakilah Abdullah Ali was the eldest of six and had to raise her siblings growing up. Married at 16, she was abused on and off for the next 15 years and was incarcerated for fighting back against her abuser.

Shortly after she got out of prison, Chakilah became the lead teacher at a day care, caring for infants and children while barely making enough to support her three sons.

She has seen firsthand the struggles a Black woman in the United States faces while trying to work for fair wages, raise a family, navigate health care, and withstand a discriminatory criminal justice system.

Now age 60 and a leader of the North Carolina chapter of We Dream in Black, a program of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), Chakilah spoke Wednesday at a forum in Washington D.C., where researchers released a report on the status of Black women in the United States.

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