Black History Month: 11 Reproductive Justice Organizations to Uplift
February is Black History Month, the annual celebration of the integral role Black people have played in American history. And while there are countless Black women and men who have made history in many different ways and in a variety of fields, we’d like to take this opportunity to uplift reproductive justice organizations who are continuing to make history and lead the charge.
SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice (RJ) as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” Officially established in Chicago in 1994, the RJ movement was founded by twelve Black women who were seeking to serve the most marginalized groups of people. RJ combines reproductive health and social justice to address the myriad of systems that support practices of institutional racism which further health inequities for people of color. RJ challenges us to be inclusive of a variety of issues that prevent people from achieving their reproductive well-being. Black women continue to be the biggest and fiercest advocates of reproductive justice. Our work at Power to Decide over the last 25 years would not have been possible without the groundbreaking framework created by the RJ movement.
Here are 11 RJ organizations that you can support and uplift during Black History Month and beyond:
The AFIYA Center
The AFIYA Center is an organization based in Northern Texas and founded in response to the disproportional prevalence of HIV among Black women and girls in Texas. Their work focuses on Reproductive Justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, and HIV programming. Their mission is to “serve Black women and girls by transforming their relationship with their sexual and reproductive health through addressing the consequences of reproduction oppression.”
Black Mamas Matter Alliance
The Black Mamas Matter Alliance uses innovative research methods to advance care for Black mamas to change policy and shift our collective culture. Their mission is to “center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.” Each April, they also host the Black Maternal Health Week campaign to open the conversation about Black maternal health in the US and encourage community-driven solutions.
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Founded in 1983, the Black Women’s Health Imperative has been a longstanding pillar in the RJ movement. The organization leads national programs in health policy, education, research, and more with a goal of saving and extending the lives of Black women. These programs involve community outreach, community education, policy work, and workshops Their mission is to “lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the US.”
Black Women for Wellness
Black Women for Wellness is a nonprofit based in California that hosts education, outreach, and engagement programs that support physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and financial well-being. The nonprofit’s goal is to improve the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment, and advocacy so that they can develop personal power and contribute growth in the community.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
In Our Own Voice is a national-state partnership that uplifts Black women leaders from every level in the fight to achieve Reproductive Justice for all. Their eight strategic partners are Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center, and Women With A Vision. They support programming around a variety of issues, including abortion access, maternal health, racial justice, COVID-19.
New Voices for Reproductive Justice
New Voices is an organization that serves the Greater Pittsburgh Region, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and seeks to bring health and well-being to the Black community. Their programs support leadership development, community organizing, policy advocacy, and more so that Black women can advance issues such as sexual and reproductive health, LGBTQ+ rights, Environmental Justice, and more. Their mission is to “build a social change movement dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through leadership development, Human Rights, and Reproductive Justice.”
SisterLove, Inc. is an organization that offers free HIV and other STI testing in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with advancing awareness for PrEP, their work includes health education and prevention programs, healthy love workshops, and policy and advocacy programs. Their mission is to “eradicate the adverse impact of HIV, sexual and reproductive health rights and justice challenges impacting women and their families through education, prevention, support, research, and human rights advocacy in the United States and around the world.”
SisterReach is a grassroot nonprofit that serves BIPOC, rural women, folks struggling to make ends meet, and their families. Their mission is to “empower our base to lead healthy lives, raise healthy families, and live in healthy and sustainable communities by using a four-pronged strategy of education, policy and advocacy, culture change and harm reduction.”
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
SisterSong is a national membership organization formed in 1997 by 16 organizations of women of color to uplift the needs and interests of their communities. They offer RJ trainings and leadership development and examine reproductive health access throughout the South. Their stated purpose is “to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.”
SPARK: Reproductive Justice NOW!
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! is a Southern-based RJ organization that serves as subject matter experts and leaders in a wide range of focus areas. SPARK gives leaders the tools to engage, educate, and uplift their communities. With programs in leadership development, organizing and civic engagement, and digital outreach, SPARK is able to reach Black women and Queer and Trans Young People of Color (QTYPOC). Their mission is to “ build new leadership, change culture, and advance knowledge in Georgia and the South to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, gender, sexualities, and lives.”
Women With a Vision Foundation
Women With a Vision Foundation is a “coalition of women who support survivors of domestic violence and substance abuse through awareness, prevention and rehabilitation.” Though established in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009 by just three women, WWAV now serves communities in the Metro areas of Atlanta, Richmond, and Nashville. They work with local shelters, halfway houses, support groups, and others to offer financial, tangible, knowledge-based support, and uplift to survivors.
While deep health inequities persist for Black women in America due to the impact of structural racism, RJ organizations serve as a source of support and hope for the future. These organizations center and uplift the voices and lived experiences of the marginalized communities to create lasting change.