Happy Black History Month! If you’re thinking about how you’re going to wrap up this month of celebrating the achievements of Black people, I would like to ask that you specifically lift up Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive people by investing in Black Reproductive Justice (RJ) organizations. 
If you haven’t already read my op-ed, "Top three reasons to invest in Reproductive Justice during Black History Month," published in BlackPressUSA, read it to learn more about Black women and the RJ movement. 
In Our Own Voice proudly partners with eight Black women-led RJ organizations around the country who are doing amazing work in their communities. Their footprint includes everything from promoting self-care for Black women, combatting voter suppression, providing financial support for Black women and their families who have been impacted by gun violence, COVID-19, and gender-based violence, and fighting to decriminalize sex work. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the innovative work our partners are doing on the ground and why it’s a good investment for your donation: 
Released their annual Winter Wellness Guide provides skincare tips, recipes, and journal prompts for Black women. 
Created the Affirming Care for Black Women of the Transgender Experience Provider Guide to help individuals and providers better understand the health needs of Black women and femmes of trans experience. 
Launched the #SayHERName Justice Fund, which helps to cover expenses associated with sudden/tragic loss, for Black women and their families who have been impacted by gun violence and gender-based violence. 
Are your ears burning? We’re excited about SisterLove’s soon-to-be-released podcast series, Visible Unseen, which lifts up unseen heroes of the HIV epidemic. 
Recently opened Pearl’s Pantry, a place where Memphis families can secure food and clothing at no cost. SisterReach will soon launch an extension of that program — Pearl’s Pantry Mobile, which will allow them to take these vital services on the road and reach more people in need. 
Got creative in how they showed the love this Valentine’s Day. They provided “Safe Lovin” goodie bags filled with Plan B, condoms, pregnancy tests, and more to supporters and wrote love notes to gender-expansive folks who are incarcerated. 
Is seeking answers about the impact of COVID-19 to help identify concerns that need more research, healthcare and better policies. Their COVID research project is accepting participants who want to share their experiences with the disease. Participants are paid $50. 
Their Deep South Decrim Toolkit provides a wealth of information to help Louisiana community members learn about the importance of decriminalizing sex work in the state. 
Make these final days of Black History Month impactful by supporting a Black RJ organization. When we support Black women, we support Black families and communities. 

In solidarity,
Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Tell Your Senator to Vote YES on WHPA
After passing the House last September, the Senate is expected to take up a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) later this month. Advocates are calling on Congress to pass WHPA to safeguard the right to abortion access. Tell your Senator to vote yes on WHPA.
Time for a Black Woman Supreme Court Justice
Justice Stephen Breyer announced his plans to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of this term, leaving a vacancy on the conservative majority court. In Our Own Voice, other advocates, and members of Congress have called on President Biden to keep his previous promise to nominate a Black woman to SCOTUS.
Expanding Access to Maternal Health Care
Representative Kathy Manning (D-NC-06) introduced H.R.6612, the Advancing Maternal Health Equity Under Medicaid Act to expand access to maternal health care services. The bill raises the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) rate for states that increase their spending under Medicaid for maternal health services. In Our Own Voice endorsed this legislation, along with several other organizations.
SCOTUS Attack on Voting Rights
SCOTUS voted 5-4 to reinstate Alabama’s gerrymandered redistricting map. Black advocates, activists, and leaders recognize this decision as an attempt to minimize Black voting power in the state. Alabama’s map creates seven new districts, packing Black voters into a single Black majority district while dispersing other Black voters across multiple districts.

Texas Voting Rights Restrictions in Action 
With primary elections currently underway in Texas, this is the first statewide election since the passage of SB 1, which contains sweeping voter restrictions. Texans are already witnessing the impact of this restrictive law, with local election officials seeing a record number of vote-by-mail applications being rejected.

Do you know a promising college student ready to train to become a Reproductive Justice Leader? If so, send them our way.

We are recruiting stellar students for the next class of In Our Own Voice's Next Generation Leadership Institute. This two-year paid fellowship is open to students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Ideal candidates are students interested in maximizing their leadership potential while developing knowledge and skills in advocacy, strategic communications, and movement building. If you know a qualified student, please encourage them to apply!
Tune in to this engaging conversation about Reproductive Justice with Dr. Benjamin Chavis of BlackPressUSA and In Our Own Voice's President and CEO, Marcela Howell, on March 3, 2022. Check your local PBS station for channels and times. 

Mark your calendars!