Happy New Year! Like many of you, I am glad to have 2020 in the rear-view mirror. 2021 began with all eyes on Trump's “Big Lie” that he won the presidential election. Only to be followed by an attempted insurrection and riot at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters while we were still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil, and rampant racial injustices. As I shared in a recent Blavity op-ed, Black women still have a lot to be proud of in 2020.  

Let’s start with the election of Kamala Harris as the first female, Black, and Asian-American vice president in our nation’s history. While we celebrate this victory along with the new Democratic-led Congress, we will be vigilant in holding Congressional leaders and the Biden administration accountable. We will not back down from our fight to secure sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all. Earlier this week we sent a clear message to President Biden that his administration must take a firm stance on ensuring that all people have access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.  

Our new Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda will serve as a roadmap for members of Congress and the Biden-Harris administration on how to integrate the RJ framework in legislation and policies. The Black RJ Policy Agenda will be released in March and highlight a number of intersectional issues, including economic justice, racial justice, education, maternal health, environmental justice, and housing. As we all work to rebuild America, In Our Own Voice is putting Black women, femmes, and girls first. 

Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Vice President of Government Affairs Michelle Batchelor participated in two panel discussions. She moderated "Navigating the Political Appointees Process," which was hosted by the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. Melanie Roussell Newman, from Planned Parenthood and Nadia Garnett, from Deliver Strategies, served as panelists. They discussed the ins and outs of applying and interviewing for political appointments in presidential administrations and their personal experiences working for past administrations. 

Michelle also joined Dr. Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law at University of California Irvine Law School and Fabiola Carrion, Senior Attorney at National Health Law Program, for a discussion on Black women and the legacy of reproductive choice. The program, Realizing the Promise of Roe, was hosted by our partner organization Black Women for Wellness. 
RJ Reading
Being well-informed about Reproductive Justice and the fight to protect Black women's bodies is essential. Which is why we are making sure our Next Generation Leadership Institute fellows are always in the know. Our holiday gift to the group was a library stocked with great RJ reads to help broaden their understanding of the Reproductive Justice framework throughout their advocacy journey.   

The RJ library was carefully selected by In Our Own Voice staff and features some of the most influential books that educate and inspire action on health, sexuality, gender, feminism, and reproductive rights. With over 20 texts added to their literary arsenal, the 2020-2022 fellows are well equipped to champion RJ on their campuses and beyond.    
Being Well While Wintering

Black Women for Wellness released its 2021 Winter Wellness Guide, filled with recipes, mantras, tips, reflections, and resources to assist, support, and inspire you as you become your best self.
COVID-19 Community Relief Initiative: Free Emergency Contraception

On the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, New Voices for Reproductive Justice announced it will add free emergency contraception to its COVID-19 Community Relief Initiative. The program will start in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, and eventually, offer emergency contraception to people across Pennsylvania and Ohio.  
The IMPROV Project

SisterLove, in collaboration with Positive Impact Health Center, launched a research study called the IMPROV Project. The project is aimed at improving mental health and substance use treatment services for those living with HIV in Atlanta.
SPARK Organizing Intensive

SPARK will host its first virtual SPARK Organizing Intensive on Jan. 30. The training is open to both new and experienced organizers who hope to increase their knowledge on pressing issues within the community, gain organizing and advocacy skills, and organize community projects and events of their own. 
Decriminalize Sex Work: Sign On to Support LA HB 366

Women with A Vision is circulating a petition in support of LA HB366, a bill that would be an important first step in decriminalizing sex work in Louisiana.  
Director of Digital Content and Strategies
Join our team! We are hiring a new 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.