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“Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda” Will Turn Racism Upside Down

The Black RJ movement has a policy agenda that will hold law enforcement, politicians, corporations, voters and all people living in the U.S. to account. It is an expertly informed compendium of 25 issue areas, each with effective policy recommendations. We believe that the Agenda addresses the social, economic, political and health needs of Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive people — so we can live our lives fully and decide for ourselves if, when and how to have and raise our families.

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Photo Courtesy of blackrj.or

As the U.S. Supreme Court reviews abortion cases that could overturn Roe v. Wade –

the 1973 decision that legalized abortion – there is a lot of attention being paid to abortion rights but not enough emphasis on the full range of reproductive health and rights issues.

Every pregnant Black person faces systemic racism that makes us “three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.” When our children are born, we face the everyday reality of battling racism and the toll it takes on Black lives.

This past year, the deadly impact of racial discrimination couldn’t have been more evident as the pandemic devastated our communities, with Black and Latinx people accounting for nearly 43 percent of COVID-19 deaths. As if that’s not bad enough, Black and Latinx women have paid the economic price for the pandemic, bearing the brunt of the “shecession.”

That’s why more than 30 Black women’s organizations and Reproductive Justice activists created the “Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda” — innovative, proactive solutions to address the disparities and discrimination faced by Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals. The “Black Reproductive Policy Agenda” is a comprehensive policy approach to the systemic racism that threatens our lives.

Now, a lot of people hear “Reproductive Justice” and think birth control and abortion. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Reproductive Justice (RJ) is a collective framework grounded in human rights, social justice and Black Feminist theory that centers the intersectional impact of race, class and gender in one’s ability to live free from oppression — so we can create and nurture the family of our own choosing and achieve optimum mental, physical, community and economic health.

Reproductive Justice was birthed by 12 Black women in 1994, as the U.S. contemplated universal health care without acknowledging or rectifying the health care system in place, which was — and continues to be — riddled with deadly racism. Since then, RJ has grown into a full-fledged movement that fights not only for the right to health care — including full access to birth control and abortion — but also equity in housing, education and employment. RJ doesn’t leave anything — or anyone — behind. It is the comprehensive movement we need to disrupt and dismantle the deeply ingrained, systemic racism that plagues this country.

Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals have been marginalized for far too long. We have been fighting for our survival while others stood by and watched — or worse, while they actively participated in our oppression for their own gain. No more!

We are tired of seeing our children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and loved ones senselessly killed by the very people who are sworn to protect us. We are fed up with not being safe in our homes, neighborhoods and churches. We demand more than one moment of reckoning.

The Black RJ movement has a policy agenda that will hold law enforcement, politicians, corporations, voters and all people living in the U.S. to account. It is an expertly informed compendium of 25 issue areas, each with effective policy recommendations. We believe that the Agenda addresses the social, economic, political and health needs of Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive people — so we can live our lives fully and decide for ourselves if, when and how to have and raise our families.

We hope that Congress will embrace the Black RJ Policy Agenda and work with us to pass it so that Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive people can live in full autonomy, with equality and justice for all. But we know that will only happen if every Black and Brown person demands it. For white people — especially white feminists — who want to be good allies, this is their chance; they too should make implementing the Black RJ Policy Agenda a priority.

The Black RJ movement has a plan to dismantle white supremacy. I challenge and encourage you to join us in demanding that elected officials and policymakers embrace and implement the Black RJ Policy Agenda now.

Marcela Howell is president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. To learn more about the Black RJ Policy agenda, visit blackrj.org.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

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Oakland Post: Week of May 8 – 14, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 8 – 14, 2024

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S.F. Black Leaders Rally to Protest, Discuss ‘Epidemic’ of Racial Slurs Against Black Students in SF Public School System

Parents at the meeting spoke of their children as no longer feeling safe in school because of bullying and discrimination. Parents also said that reported incidents such as racial slurs and intimidation are not dealt with to their satisfaction and feel ignored. 

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Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP and pastor of Third Baptist Church. Photo courtesy Third Baptist Church.
Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP and pastor of Third Baptist Church. Photo courtesy Third Baptist Church.

By Carla Thomas

San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church hosted a rally and meeting Sunday to discuss hatred toward African American students of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP and pastor of Third Baptist Church, along with leadership from local civil rights groups, the city’s faith-based community and Black community leadership convened at the church.

“There has been an epidemic of racial slurs and mistreatment of Black children in our public schools in the city,” said Brown. “This will not be tolerated.”

According to civil rights advocate Mattie Scott, students from elementary to high school have reported an extraordinary amount of racial slurs directed at them.

“There is a surge of overt racism in the schools, and our children should not be subjected to this,” said Scott. “Students are in school to learn, develop, and grow, not be hated on,” said Scott. “The parents of the children feel they have not received the support necessary to protect their children.”

Attendees were briefed last Friday in a meeting with SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne.

SFUSD states that their policies protect children and they are not at liberty to publicly discuss the issues to protect the children’s privacy.

Parents at the meeting spoke of their children as no longer feeling safe in school because of bullying and discrimination. Parents also said that reported incidents such as racial slurs and intimidation are not dealt with to their satisfaction and feel ignored.

Some parents said they have removed their students from school while other parents and community leaders called on the removal of the SFUSD superintendent, the firing of certain school principals and the need for more supportive school board members.

Community advocates discussed boycotting the schools and creating Freedom Schools led by Black leaders and educators, reassuring parents that their child’s wellbeing and education are the highest priority and youth are not to be disrupted by racism or policies that don’t support them.

Virginia Marshall, chair of the San Francisco NAACP’s education committee, offered encouragement to the parents and students in attendance while also announcing an upcoming May 14 school board meeting to demand accountability over their mistreatment.

“I’m urging anyone that cares about our students to pack the May 14 school board meeting,” said Marshall.

This resource was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library via California Black Media as part of the Stop the Hate Program. The program is supported by partnership with California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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