Statement by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President Marcela Howell on anti-police brutality uprisings
WASHINGTON — As communities rise up to say “no more” to centuries of state-sanctioned violence and police killings of Black men, women, children and trans and non-binary people, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda founder and President Marcela Howell issued the following statement:
“Living while Black is deadly. Disparate health and economic impacts, over policing, mass incarceration, the Black maternal mortality crisis, poverty, education discrimination and environmental racism are our everyday lived experience. Reproductive Justice demands that we dismantle the systems of oppression and replace them with systems that ensure that Black communities are free to live our lives without fear and with the resources necessary to live with dignity.
“George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. We say their names to demand justice — not just for them but for all who have been the victims of police and vigilante violence. We say their names as a rallying call to demand an end to systemic racism and white supremacy.
“We demand that the criminal justice system that has devastated our communities be dismantled and replaced by a system that invests in communities of color that have been ravaged by racism.
“We fight on, with Black women on the front lines, making our voices heard and our demands known: for justice, safety, equity, empowerment, bodily autonomy and recognition of our full personhood. We fight for all the little girls and boys in our families, in our communities, in our world. We fight for a safer, more just future.”
“And we stand in full support and solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) in a call for justice and change.”
- We Demand an End to the War Against Black People: We demand an end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing of our people. We call for not just individual accountability of officers after a murder, but entire police departments.
- We Demand a Divestment from the Police and Investment In Black Communities: We call on localities and elected officials across the country to divest resources away from policing in local budgets and reallocate those resources to the healthcare, housing and education our people deserve. More guns, jails and prisons are not a solution to longstanding problems of racial disparities, injustice and police violence.
- We Demand Immediate Relief for Our Communities: We demand the federal government provide direct cash payments, rent cancellation, mortgage cancellation, a moratorium on utility and water shutoffs and a cancellation of student, medical and other forms of debt. We demand long-term economic solutions that not only address the immediate crisis but pave the way for a just recovery that doesn’t prioritize corporations and leave our communities behind.
- We Demand Economic Justice for All Our People: Our people from Minneapolios to Louisville, continue to be exploited by this economy, generation after generation. At this moment of economic crisis we need to seize the opportunity to rethink the economy and move it towards one that serves the needs of people, not corporations.
- We Demand The Rights of Protestors Be Respected: We demand that the rights of protestors be respected and protected and that there be no abuse of powers. Violations of property should never be equated with the violation of human life. Trump’s recent statements have now put every protestor at risk. We demand that local and state officials ensure that there are no abuse of powers, no use of lethal force on protestors.
- We Demand Repair for Past and Continuing Harms: State actors like police, immigration agents, local officials, institutions who have caused harm to Black communities — and benefitted from those harms–must repair the harms done. Each police department must acknowledge the harm their institution has caused Black families, make an official apology and commit resources to families and communities who have been forced to suffer.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national Reproductive Justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure Reproductive Justice for all women and girls. In Our Own Voice focuses on abortion rights and access, contraceptive equity and comprehensive sex education as key policy issues. As a Reproductive Justice organization, we 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.