It’s hard to believe we are already four months into the Biden-Harris administration. Friday, April 30 will mark President Biden’s 100th full-day in office. While the date itself may not be significant to most, for many years the first 100 days of a new administration has served as a litmus test for presidents.

President Biden will be judged on a number of promises and commitments he made to voters. Everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to immigration to the economy to reproductive health, rights, and justice. It starts at the top. Having the right leadership in place is key to successfully moving the country forward and re-instilling confidence in our government.

Many have touted Biden’s cabinet as one of the most diverse in the country’s history, even more than Presidents Obama and Clinton. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda along with more than 100 other reproductive health, rights and justice organizations worked very hard to ensure that the Biden Administration placed qualified, diverse applicants from across the country into key leadership positions within the Administration.

We fought to ensure that these candidates received fair hearings for their nominations in the U.S. Senate. By our count, the Biden administration is staffed with at least 30 women of color high level appointees across agencies and the White House including Susan Rice, Chief of the White House Domestic Policy Council; Cecilia Rouse, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers; Secretary of the Interior Rep. Deb Haaland; Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rep. Marcia Fudge; Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young; and Vanita Gupta, U.S. Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ). These women are all prepared to move our democracy forward in ways that will help women and their families thrive.

As Black women, we celebrate their successes while also recognizing that more work needs to be done. Another highly qualified Black woman, Kristen Clarke has not received a vote for her confirmation for assistant attorney general for civil rights at DOJ. Please use your voice to take action by sending a note to your U.S. Senator demanding that she be confirmed. We are prepared for the long haul because dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy will take more than 100 days. 

Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Black Maternal Health Week
A guest blog Creating a world where Black moms and babies thrive by Dr. Joia Crear-Perry and Shalini Raichur from National Birth Equity Collaborative was written to highlight Black Maternal Health Week. The piece lifts up the critical need for Congress to pass the Momnibus Act of 2021. 
#WeHaveHerBack: Department of Justice Nominees
Vanita Gupta, nominated for associate attorney general at the Department of Justice, and Kristen Clarke, nominated for the assistant secretary of civil rights at the Department of Justice, are fearless champions of civil and human rights and provide critical leadership to restoring our civil rights. In Our Own Voice has advocated for their swift confirmations, collaborating with the National Council of Jewish Women to engage seven bipartisan congressional offices to urge them to confirm.

Vanita Gupta was confirmed by the Senate on April 21, with bipartisan support. Kristen Clarke will have a committee vote in May, with a full senate vote to follow. Continue to contact your senators and urge them to confirm Kristen Clarke to the DOJ!   
Consent On Campus
The Next Generation Leadership Institute is committed to combating sexual assault and violence. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month, fellows hosted COVID-19-safe events centering on the importance of consent in preventing sexual assault and violence on campus. Spelman College fellow Asia Brown and Howard University fellow Madison Harris shared their experiences education their peers on safe, healthy, and consenting sexual relationships.
Maternal Health Webinar

The Afiya Center will host the second webinar of its Maternal Health Equity Series, titled National Overview of Maternal Health — A Call to Action on Policies to Address Maternal Health Equity.
People's Health Forum

SPARK! Reproductive Justice Now will host its People's Health Forum on May 18 at 6:30 P.M. ET to ensure lawmakers stay focused on opportunities to improve Georgians' health and defend their power to make change.
Sex Work Decriminalization Bill

Women With a Vision's sex work decriminalization bill in Louisiana will be heard in front of Louisiana's Criminal Justice Administration in the State house on May 4.
Healthy Love Youth Advocates Inaugural Cohort

SisterLove is launching its Healthy Love Youth Advocates fellowship in May. The fellowship is open to 16-25 year old people living in Georgia and will allow participants to build skills in activism, grassroots organization, and public policy through a Reproductive Justice Lens.