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Carrying on the Legacy: What RJ Advocates Can Do This Juneteenth

Carrying on the Legacy: What RJ Advocates Can Do This Juneteenth

On June 19th, the United States will formally acknowledge Juneteenth for only the fourth time. Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved people in Texas were officially given their freedom in 1865 – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. I think there is a lot we can learn about hope and resistance from the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas who had to wait for their freedom. This Juneteenth, I implore you to consider how we can collectively harness that spirit of hope and resilience in our fight for Reproductive Justice (RJ) because while there is so much under attack, our collective power is still the key to creating a Reproductive Justice future for us all.  

There is no doubt that our communities have experienced a seemingly unending number of attacks on our bodily autonomy and human rights in the last several years. At every level of government, anti-Reproductive Justice policymakers have attacked our long-fought for freedoms. In June, we now also acknowledge the devastating Dobbs decision on the 24th and now that we are two years post-decision, it is clear that attacks on any of our human rights can lead to the targeting of seemingly unrelated issues. For example, in the two years since Dobbs, we have seen the targeting of Black history in schools, restricted access to gender-affirming care, attacks on in vitro fertilization (IVF), and politician led efforts to spread disinformation about contraception. This June also marks the end of a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) term where they heard cases like FDA v. Hippocratic Medicine, which challenged to limit access to the FDA approved distribution of medication abortion and  Moyle v United States and Idaho v. United States, which could block stabilizing emergency care for pregnancy patients like medication abortion. Although SCOTUS ultimately threw out FDA v. Hippocratic Medicine, we should not have to collectively hold our breath every summer as we await rulings on our fundamental rights.  

 Recent In Our Own Voice polling found that our communities are directly impacted by these attacks and are worried about their impacts. For example, when asked to list their motivations to vote, 24% of respondents ranked “People’s rights and freedoms are at stake” as their first or second motivation to vote. Days like Juneteenth are a reminder that our communities have always fought for more and that legacy continues as we face attempts to lessen our access to Reproductive Justice. Our collective voice is more important than ever, and we must use it wherever we can. Below are just a few ways you can engage this Juneteenth as an RJ advocate: 

  1. Become a RJ Voter and share resources about what RJ is to your friends and family and create a voting plan  
  1. Learn more about your local policymakers and attend local town halls and meetings 
  1. If you hear about policies you don’t agree with or ones you support, contact your elected officials and let them know 
  1. Sign up for our newsletter to keep informed on the latest Reproductive Justice policy trends. 

We know what the issues are cost of living, extreme weather, high levels of Black maternal mortality, and countless others. But we also know that Reproductive Justice policy responses to these issues exist. That’s why this Juneteenth and as we approach the second year since the Dobbs anniversary, I ask you to consider why staying engaged this year matters. It’s on us to put Reproductive Justice into action!

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