I’m finding that since Jan. 20 it’s been a little easier to breathe. That’s not to say that all is perfect, we are still trying to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 virus and grappling with the increased displays of blatant examples of white supremacy and racial injustice against people of color. But it is nice to wake up each morning to strong, competent leadership in the White House and not social media temper tantrums from an incompetent megalomaniac.

After one full month President Biden has signed more than 50 executive orders ranging from reproductive healthcare including abortion care to COVID-19 to civil rights to immigration. I’m pleased that some of the orders reversed Trump’s cruel policies against women and members of the LBGTQ+ community, while others indicate the direction the Biden administration plans to take in healing and rebuilding the country.
But we still have a long way to go. It is not enough to just rescind terrible policies, this administration and Congress need to proactively institute policies and legislation that is progressive, addressing racism, misogyny, and the colonizing systems that are ingrained in our government and culture. In a thoughtful and intentional way, we must fight against totalitarianism and exclusionary policies in favor of diversity and inclusion and preservation of democracy. The ugliness that we are witnessing in the attacks on the credentials of qualified women of the color nominated by President Biden to head agencies reeks of the racism and sexism that we can no longer tolerate.

President Biden has a long road ahead in terms of bringing the nation together and righting the wrongs of the last four years, while moving us forward. And while we believe that breathing will be a lot easier, rest assured that we plan to hold him accountable for his promises to Black women, femmes, and girls. 

Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Contact your senator today and urge them to confirm Vanita Gupta for Associate Attorney General and Kristen Clarke for the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice as soon as possible.
The Biden-Harris administration has nominated the most diverse and qualified cabinet in history. Despite this, an alarming trend has emerged in the U.S. Senate. Women of color have been met with opposition, despite their qualifications. Vanita and Kristen bring decades of professional and lived experience to the roles they have been nominated for. They have shown a steadfast commitment to working towards a better America and should be confirmed. 
Navigating the Political Appointments Process
Vice President of Government Affairs Michelle Batchelor moderated a panel on the political appointments process. Hosted by the National Women’s Law Center in connection to the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Appointments Project, the webinar featured Tina Tchen, president and CEO of Time’s UP Now and Danielle Okai, White House Presidential Personnel Office senior associate director as panelists. The webinar provided information on the application process and how to navigate the political appointments process in the Biden-Harris administration, for those who are considering applying for positions.   
We applaud the introduction of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021
Rep. Lauren Underwood, Rep. Alma Adams, and Sen. Cory Booker introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. The package aims to address the maternal mortality crisis in the Uniated States, with a focus on its impact on Black women. The package targets multiple areas of health policy, including mental health, postpartum care, and the perinatal workforce, to reduce the maternal mortality rate and improve the overall outcomes of pregnant people.
Black RJ Organization Spotlight Campaign
In Our Own Voice will partner with Planned Parenthood during the month of March, Women’s History month, to spotlight the great policy work of just a few of many Black RJ organizations. The campaign, Spotlight Policy Series: Celebrating Black Leadership in Reproductive Justice! will highlight the work of a different RJ organization each week. The groups that will be featured are In Our Own Voice, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, SisterReach, and SisterSong. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the campaign.
Living a Reproductive Justice Life
We're launching our #LivingARJLife Life campaign — a year-long effort to connect our values for an equitable world with our collective power and action. What does Reproductive Justice mean to you? Advocating in your community? Holding your elected officials accountable? Having full bodily autonomy? Having the freedom to express your gender and sexual identity?  Join the campaign by sharing a :10-:20 video that shows how you’re #livingARJlife! Post the video on your social media platforms, tag @BlackWomensRJ, and use the #LivingARJLife, #BlackRJ, and #ImagineAWorld in your post.  Check out our toolkit for sample graphics, posts, and videos.
Black Herstory Month
In celebration of Black History Month, Next Gen fellows were asked to reflect on the contributions of Black women leaders who have shaped their RJ advocacy and read Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings. The text highlights the contributions of influential activists such as Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, and Mary McCleod Bethune, amongst many other notable Black women leading the charge on dismantling institutionalized oppression.

Here is the rundown on how our fellows got active during Black History month and lifted up their sheores.   
The Rare Disease Diversity Coalition

Black Women's Health Imperative announced the launch of the Rare Disease Diversity Coalition. The coalition will bring together industry, advocacy, and community leaders to reduce racial disparities within rare diseases.
Black Folks Virtual Day on the Hill

SisterReach will hold Black Folks Virtual Day on the Hill 2021 on March 3-4. The first day will be an informational session, followed by a day of meetings with state representatives.
LegislateTHIS! Advocacy Day

SPARK's annual LegislateTHIS! Advocacy Day will be held on March 3.  LegislateTHIS! is an opportunity to advocate on issues that impact our community, including anti-trans legislation and crisis pregnancy centers. LegislateTHIS! will be held on Clubhouse and Instagram.
Director of Digital Content and Strategies
Job responsibilities include leading and managing In Our Own Voice’s online presence through our websites, social media channels, and multi-media content. Please share this great job opportunity with your networks.

Policy Manager
Job responsibilities include identifying policy and regulatory needs, creating advocacy plans, and conducting educational outreach to the administration, federal agency staff, and Members of Congress regarding sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice issues. Please share this great job opportunity with your networks.
President and CEO Marcela Howell was quoted in The Washington InformerThe Charlotte Post, and The Seattle Medium about the special ACA enrollment window for health coverage. 
President and CEO Marcela Howell's statement on the Momnibus Act was featured in Ms. Magazine and the Feminist Majority Foundation.