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Statement from Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
WASHINGTON — Today, the death of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings was announced. Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in response:
“Today, we mourn the passing of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a lifelong civil rights champion. He rose from the Jim Crow era Florida to be the first Black judge to sit on the federal bench in that state. Ultimately, he went on to serve in Congress, despite being forced off the bench. Rep. Hastings worked his way out of segregation and poverty and into the halls of power, where he challenged our country to root out racism.
“Rep. Hastings was, undoubtedly, an imperfect leader. His career was punctuated with allegations of improprieties, including bribery and a sexual harassment claims, all of which he denied. His imperfections, however, must not be used to negate the totality of his work for civil rights and his commitment to embracing and supporting the disenfranchised.
“Rep. Hastings’ absence will be felt in Congress and across the nation. We extend our deepest sympathy to all who mourn his passing. We promise to honor his memory by continuing Rep. Hastings’ work for liberty and justice.”
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. Our seven strategic partners include: Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc. SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, Althea Center and Women With A Vision.