Background of In Our Own Voice
In 2014, five visionary Black women’s Reproductive Justice organizations – Black Women for Wellness (CA), Black Women’s Health Imperative (national), New Voices Pittsburg (OH & PA), SisterLove (GA) and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!(GA) – joined forces to form In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, a national/state partnership to lift up the voices of Black women RJ leaders on issues that impact our lives. That partnership has since grown to include three new organizational partners – SisterReach (TN), The Afiya Center (TX) and Women With a Vision (LA).
What is Reproductive Justice?
Reproductive Justice is the human right to control our bodies, our sexuality, our gender, our work and our reproduction. That right can only be achieved when all women and girls have the complete economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families and our communities in all areas of our lives. Reproductive Justice uses a human rights framework and is grounded in Black Feminist theory. In Our Own Voice uses both that framework and feminist theory to center the voices of Black women, femmes and girls to transform the systems that hinder our ability to reclaim our bodies and our lives.
As a Reproductive Justice organization, we approach policy issues from a human rights perspective that incorporates the intersections of race, gender, class, sexual orientation and gender identity with the situational impacts of economics, politics and culture that make up the lived experiences of Black women in America.
Reproductive Justice is Social Change
Reproductive Justice is people working together for social change with an intersectional agenda. Using a human rights frame, Reproductive Justice brings transformational change where every person has the economic, social, cultural and political power to make decisions about their sexuality, health, and families.
At In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda our approach seeks to dismantle systems of oppression that target Black women, femmes and girls in all our identities. We center the voices of Black women, femmes and girls, those most affected, to create lasting change.
Why Reproductive Justice Matters
Black women do not live single-issue lives. We face structural barriers that serve to undermine our rights and uphold injustices. These barriers are rooted in white supremacy, misogyny and homophobic ideology. Often these racist and sexist ideologies are reinforced by government policies, cultural institutions, and even in our own homes and communities. As a result, Black women, femmes and girls have less access to reproductive healthcare, experience poorer health outcomes, and face significant obstacles to achieving our full economic, social, and political power.
- Black women’s lives are rich and complex – our lives matter.
- Black women’s history illustrates the call for reproductive health and justice – our bodies matter.
- Black women bring depth and insight into policies – our voices matter.
Our lives, our bodies and our voices count. We TRUST the empowerment and strength of Black women to make personal decisions that impact our lives and the lives of our families.