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2018 Earth Day — black women are leading the fight against environmental racism

BY MARCELA HOWELL AND JANETTE ROBINSON-FLINT, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 04/22/18 10:30 AM EDT

Environmental policy in the age of the Trump administration and Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proved to be devastating, with a long list of first year actions designed at dismantling basic protections. These actions range from rolling back Obama-era regulations that tackled climate change to limiting funding to our communities attempting to address environmental risks.

Historically, low-income communities, predominately communities of color, have faced the most severe burdens of environmental hazards that are made worse as the government takes huge steps backwards in regulations.

As the nation watches the EPA’s actions, Earth Day should not only be a day to celebrate our planet and protect our natural environment, but should also serve as a harsh reminder of how environmental racism continues to burden black communities, specifically black women.

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January Is a Month to Recommit to the Struggle for Reproductive Justice

Opinion:”We have come a long way. We’ve made gains against impossible odds. We have much to celebrate and much more to do.”
by Marcela Howell, January 16, 2018

With the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion—and the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March quickly approaching, this is a good time to reflect on the state of women’s rights and the lessons we’ve learned over the last year.

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Black women applaud TIME’s Person of the Year 2017

Statement of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda Founder and Executive Director Marcela Howell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – TIME Magazine has named “the silence breakers’ as its 2017 Person of the Year, celebrating those who championed the #MeToo movement and came forward publicly to name and condemn sexual assaulters.

Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement:

“What a difference a year makes! Last year TIME’s Person of the Year was a sexual predator. This year, the movement of women to stop sexual assault and harassment have earned the title. These brave silence breakers have shattered the system that allows abusers to prosper. The power of our collective voice is proving its strength as we witness the ostracization of powerful men.

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Black Women Are Still Fighting for Our Lives Even if GOP Health Care Bill Fails

Republicans have now tried and failed three times to pass health care bills that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act — and potentially cut access to health care for millions. We’ve seen the introduction of hundreds of new reproductive health restrictions and insistent efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In the midst of the GOP’s attack on women’s health, Charleena Lyles was killed by police. She was a pregnant Black woman who called the cops to her home for protection only to fall victim to their bullets. This is the unique kind of challenge black women face where health and state-sanctioned violence intersect. 

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New report outlines action agenda for interlocking issues of reproductive, racial, criminal justice

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2017
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR
amy@caminopr.com / 212-255-2575

Report briefing puts human face to Black women’s reproductive justice challenges

WASHINGTON — Today, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda launched its groundbreaking new report on the state of Black women and reproductive justice. The report offers firsthand accounts of the lived experiences of Black women, giving voice to issues including abortion access, the Affordable Care Act, maternal health and equal access to contraception.

“We held listening sessions with Black women across the country,” said Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice. “This report documents the real-life barriers to reproductive health that Black women face and examines the impact of these barriers on our lives.”

The report, “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Voices: The State of Black Women and Reproductive Justice,” exposes how both political parties give short shrift to the needs of Black women. One party consistently fails to address police violence against Black people even as we witness yet another Black woman — Charleena Lyles — being murdered in front of her own children.

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Black Women Denounce Killing of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police

Statement of In Our Own Voice Founder and Executive Director Marcela Howell

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sunday, June 18, 2017, Charleena Lyles was shot dead, in her
own home, by two white, Seattle police officers, who responded to her report of a burglary.
Lyles was a 30-year-old Black woman. Her four children were in the apartment and may have
witnessed the shooting and her death. The officers report that Lyles, after calling them for help,
threatened them with a knife. Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own
Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement:

“Charleena Lyles called the police for help and ended up murdered by the very people she
looked to for protection. Her name is added to the seemingly endless list of Black women and
men killed by police violence. Like always, Black communities will await the results of an
investigation to determine whether anyone will be charged with her death.

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Black women call for more action to stop the attack on voting rights.

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2017
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR

amy@caminopr.com / 212-255-2575

Statement from In Our Own Voice

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the decision of lower court in the North Carolina voting rights case, which ruled that the 2013 voting law discriminated against African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”  Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in response:

“The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the North Carolina voting rights case is a small step in the right direction for civil rights. Efforts to suppress Black voters have ramped up across the country and must be stopped.

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Black women denounce new Voting Commission

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2017
Contact: Loretta Kane (917-410-7242 or loretta@caminopr.com)

Statement from In Our Own Voice

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the White House announced the creation of a commission to investigate voter fraud, spurred by Trump’s unfounded claims of voting irregularities during the 2016 elections. Marcela Howell, Founder and Executive Director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement:

“The president has established a commission to investigate his own trumped up charges of voter fraud. He has appointed a known and proven enemy of voter rights, Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who — despite his allegations of widespread voting by noncitizens — has only prosecuted a small number of cases in his own state, to head this effort.

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