In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national/state partnership designed to amplify and lift up the voices of Black women leaders at the national and state levels in our ongoing fight to secure Reproductive Justice for all women and girls. Our organization partners with eight Black women’s Reproductive Justice organizations – Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, the Afiya Center and Women With a Vision – to educate and mobilize Black women, femmes and girls on issues such as abortion access, contraceptive equity and comprehensive sexuality education.
As a Reproductive Justice entity, we will approach these issues from a human rights perspective, incorporating 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.
The long-term vision of our innovative collaboration is to use advocacy and policy change, leadership development, and movement building strategies to build a powerful and sustainable network of Black women activists. The major goals of In Our Own Voice are:
- To establish a leadership voice for Black women on reproductive health, rights and justice at the national level;
- To build a coordinated movement of Black women in support of the intersectional issues of our lives, including abortion access, contraceptive equity, comprehensive sex education, economic justice, racial equity, environmental justice and affordable housing, among others;
- To lay the foundation for ongoing policy change at the state level that impacts the lives and wellbeing of Black women and their families; and
- To engage and motivate Black women as a traditionally underrepresented group in the American electorate.
In Our Own Voice presents a unique opportunity to mount a coordinated campaign that asserts the reproductive rights of Black women. The partnership provides an avenue for Black women’s Reproductive Justice organizations and activists to amplify the work we do at the state and regional levels to advance reproductive health, rights and justice and to demonstrate the relevance and power of our voices at the national level as Black women across the country speak in one voice coordinated across all ages, education levels and geographic regions, in support of our reproductive rights.
Advocacy and Policy Change: In Our Own Voice works with its organizational partners to impact policies at the national, state and local levels. We educate policy makers and advocate for proactive policies that impact the health and well-being of Black women, femmes and girls. Working with more than 30 Black women’s organizations and activists, we developed the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda to provide proactive policies on reproductive health, housing, environment, policing, LGBTQ+ liberation, immigration, disability, food security and research.
Leadership Development: In Our Own Voice works with Black women, femmes and girls, including the leaders, board members, staff and activists of our partner organizations to provide media and messaging training on our various issues so they can serve as spokespeople within their communities to promote policy and cultural change at the local, state, regional and national levels through advocacy, narrative shifting, community mobilization, and movement building.
Additionally, we designed the Next Generation Leadership Institute to work with students on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop their leadership skills and provide them with training in advocacy, community organizing and media readiness. The Institute provides a formal pipeline to train a new generation of Black Reproductive Justice leaders.
Movement Building: In Our Own Voice is building a movement of Black women intent on changing our reproductive health outcomes. Because of the important role our organizational partners play in the activism of Black communities, our movement building campaign is centered on building their outreach capacity and infrastructure. We know that real movement building starts with understanding the lived experience of the women we are trying to mobilize and are expanding our programmatic work to integrate periodic “listening sessions” to ensure that their voices are incorporated into our work.