During ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice…
Hundreds of Black mamas and those who care about Black mamas found community at this year’s Black Maternal Health Conference and Training Institute hosted by The Black Mamas Matter Alliance earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Conference organizers say the event meets a national need for a forum dedicated to Black Maternal Health and Black people who are working to improve those outcomes.
This year’s theme was “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families, and Black Systems of Care.” With the goal to advance maternal, birth, and Reproductive Justice (RJ), the sessions at BMHC22 offered attendees the opportunity to expand how they approach Black maternal health in their work and everyday lives. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda was a sponsor at this year’s conference.
At this historical moment in Reproductive Justice work, Dr. Loretta Ross served as the conference keynote speaker. She highlighted Reproductive Justice and its foundation of human rights. She challenged attendees to broaden what they view as RJ and human rights, telling the audience that Reproductive Justice is not “just a new word for saying pro-choice.” In her remarks, Dr. Ross addressed the expansiveness of the Reproductive Justice framework and the need to see how all aspects of a person’s life impact their reproductive decisions. As advocates continue to fight for abortion access, improved maternal health outcomes, and voting rights, Dr. Ross’s presentation was a reminder that RJ is a guiding principle in our work and a way to center our activism.
As we navigate the persistent attack on our rights, Dr. Ross and the other speakers at BMHC22 left attendees with a better understanding of how to be RJ advocates wherever their work allows. For us at In Our Own Voice, that means continuing our advocacy work around the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, postpartum Medicaid extension, and ensuring policymakers understand how the issues of maternal health intersect with other issues like voting rights and abortion access for Black women, femmes, and gender-expansive people.
Learn more about the Black Maternal Health Momnibus and other Reproductive Justice solutions in the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda.