Good Morning,

Voting this election is critical. Voter suppression has evolved and continues to oppress our communities and suppress our voices. You've heard many state the need for every voter to "Make A Plan" to vote! Well, now you're going to hear me say the same! Do you have a voting plan?  

Earlier this month, I moderated a Facebook live discussion about voter suppression with voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, and activist La' Tasha D. Mayes, president & CEO of our partner organization, New Voices for Reproductive Justice.  

Abrams says there are 3 things you can do to ensure your vote is counted in the Nov. 3 election:  

  • Make a plan! Are you planning to vote early, by absentee ballot, or in person? Encourage your friends and family members to make a plan too.
  • Have a reason to vote! What are you most worried about? How do current policies impact you? Be sure to vote on the local, state, and national levels.
  • Complete your Census! Black communities are currently being undercounted in the Census by nearly 15 percent.

Additionally, you can join our I AM A VOTER initiative on Sept. 8. This digital campaign aims to educate, motivate, and mobilize Black women to exercise their voting power in local, state, and national elections. We are working with our partner organizations to specifically reach Black women voters in seven states (California, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas) and on social media throughout the country.  

Be sure to visit Vote.org to learn more about specific voting requirements in your state. After you've made your plan, share it with us on social media @blackwomensrj.  

Lastly, you can watch the entire discussion on Black women and voter suppression here! In Our Voice will be hosting a series of live conversations on FacebookTwitter, and Youtube in Sept. on early voting, and in Oct. on the importance of getting-out-the-vote. We hope you'll plan to tune in! 

Marcela Howell
Founder & President
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
2020 Netroots Nation Women’s Pre-Conference: How We Fight: Protecting Reproductive Rights For All Women 
In Our Own Voice VP of Government Affairs, Michelle Batchelor, participated in a virtual panel discussion, focused on the continuous fight for reproductive rights and included the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Louisiana abortion provider law and on employer rights to restrict employee access to birth control.
#AbortionAccess4All Digital Lobby Day 
On August 12, our Senior Policy Manager, Lexi White, and Breya Johnson from Black Women’s Health Imperative joined National Council of Jewish Women, All* Above All, and Act For Women Campaign and dozens of partners for #AbortionAccess4All Digital Lobby Day to educate Congressional offices about the Each Woman Act and Women’s Health Protection Act, and the urgency of ensuring Black women can access abortion healthcare without interference.
The Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice: First Priorities for an Incoming Administration 
In August, in partnership with Planned Parenthood, we released First Priorities, a detailed punch list of executive and agency actions for an incoming administration's opening days. The First Priorities are based on the Blueprint, a bold, intersectional, and proactive policy agenda to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice released last year and developed by a diverse coalition of more than 90 organizations.
Welcoming Our Newest Class of Fellows

We are excited to welcome the 2020-2022 class of our Next Generation Leadership Institute. The 12 fellows in this class of Next-Gen rock stars are awe-inspiring and devoted to serving their campus communities. They are dedicated to empowering their peers, advancing Reproductive Justice, and ending gender and racial discrimination while promoting better health outcomes for Black Women. Fellows hail from HBCU's from across the nation, including Dillard University, Hampton University, Howard University, Lincoln University, and Spelman College. The two-year fellowship opportunity provides formal training in Reproductive Justice, advocacy, leadership skill building, strategic communications, effective organizing, and the public policy process.
Rolling out the Welcome Mat
We would like to welcome Leanna Commins to the In Our Own Voice team. Leanna will serve as our new Communications Associate. Her most recent role was content creator at the Lupus Foundation of America, where she was responsible for writing educational resources for lupus survivors—predominantly Black women and other women of color—their caregivers, and health care professionals. Welcome Leanna!
Black Women for Wellness on Senate passage of SB1237
"We are in a moment that both our state and our nation are rethinking how we address racial inequities in our institutions that can better focus on centering people first." —Nourbese Flint of Black Women for Wellness on Senate passage of SB1237 earlier this summer, legislation in California that will expand access to standard reproductive health services by expanding scope of care that nurse-midwives in California are able to provide without physician supervision.
The Power in a Name Project
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW recently launched The Power in a Name Project, a long-term organizing and advocacy campaign to affirm and uplift Trans and Non-binary people in the state of Georgia in navigating the often lengthy name and gender marker change process.

The Afiya Center joined The Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund
The Afiya Center joined The Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund in boldly striking back against East Texas Right to Life via a defamation lawsuit. “With this lawsuit, we are saying enough is enough… Going after organizations like ours will not stop us from helping Black folk.” said Marsha Jones, Executive Director of the Afiya Center. 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our state partners are working hard to ensure community access to crucial information and services during this difficult time. Here are some of the ways they continue to provide support their local communities.
Reproductive Justice Week of Action

We're launching our fourth annual Reproductive Justice Week of Action. Each year, in partnership with our 8 Reproductive Justice partner organizations we mobilize to amplify our collective voices around policy and culture change issues that are critical to the health and well-being and political futures of Black women and the Reproductive Justice movement. Stay tuned for more details!