Happy New Year

We are just a few weeks into 2022 and racism has already reared its ugly head in the U.S. Senate. Democratic senators were unsuccessful in passing voting rights legislation due to Senate filibuster rules that allowed the 50 Republican Senators plus two Democrats – Manchin (WV) and Sinema (AZ) to block the voting rights bills. 
The failure to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act once again demonstrates that structural racism stands in the way of voting rights, whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge. We must undo the racist rules of the Senate.
Earlier this month we celebrated what would have been Martin Luther King Jr’s 92nd birthday. In Our Own Voice joined nearly 150 other groups as part of the Deliver for Voting Rights Campaign to honor Dr. King’s legacy and that of other civil rights leaders by advocating for legislative voting-rights action. 

Without the right to vote, we have no rights. Dr. King and all of the leaders and activists of the civil rights movement understood that. They fought for a peaceful revolution — although violently attacked by white supremacists — to win a right to vote that they were already guaranteed under the Constitution. Now, decades later, we are still fighting to cast our votes and have them counted.

We may be starting 2022 in a battle for our voting rights, but lawmakers must understand that we are prepared to fight white supremacy and those who support it all year long if we must. We demand that the Senate pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Policymakers who believe in American democracy must champion voting rights for all people, not just for people who look like them.

Join us in the fight!

In solidarity,
Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Voting Rights
In Our Own Voice's Government Affairs team continues to push Congress to pass voting rights legislation. Recently, we met with Senate staff to encourage senators to pass The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. A recent failed vote in the Senate does not mean the end of the fight to pass this legislation. We will continue to push Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other members of the Senate to protect our right to vote.
Abortion Access and the Women's Health Protection Act
We are monitoring the actions of the Supreme Court and state legislatures following the oral arguments in the case related to SB8 in Texas and Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization. In Our Own Voice recently signed on to a community letter urging the Senate to pass the Women's Health Protection Act to protect the right to abortion care.  

We and our partners continue to monitor state legislatures for SB8 “copy-cat” bills and other targeted regulation attacks against abortion providers and patients. Stay tuned for action alerts and more state tracking in the March Policy Digest. Decisions from the Supreme Court are not expected until the end of the term in the spring.   

In recognizing the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade at a time when abortion access is especially in jeopardy, Black Reproductive Justice leaders and advocates have issued a statement and call to action that highlights the link between abortion and Reproductive Justice for Black families.  
To close last year, In Our Own Voice highlighted all of the amazing work done by our 2021-22 Next Generation Leadership Institute fellows to champion the rights of Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive individuals, and we are looking forward to them continuing this work through the spring as they conclude their fellowship.

Beginning Feb. 1, In Our Own Voice will be recruiting standout students for our 2022-24 Next Generation Leadership Institute class. Keep an eye on our website for the opening of the application period, and be sure to share this opportunity with your networks! This two-year paid fellowship is open to students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
In Our Own Voice is proud to partner with organizations that work 24/7/365 to advance Reproductive Justice on a state level. Take a look at our partners in action:
Coat and Clothing Drive

Patagonia Dallas is holding a coat and clothing drive to donate to the Afiya Center. If you are in the Dallas area, you can bring your new and gently used coats and clothing through the end of the month.
Winter Wellness Guide

Need a little help to get you through the remaining winter months? Black Women for Wellness released its annual Winter Wellness Guide. This year’s guide is called “Mind, Body and Soul: A Guide to Holistic Health and Wellness” and includes recipes, skincare tips, journal prompts, affirmations and more.
Free HIV Testing Kits

Black Women’s Health Imperative partnered with Molecular Testing Labs to provide any person living in the United States (including Puerto Rico) with free HIV testing kits. Ordering is quick and easy.

New Voices for Reproductive Justice is hiring for its Voice Your Vote! team in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Apply to help Get Out the Vote in your area for the upcoming elections.
Free HIV Testing

SisterLove is offering free in-person HIV testing. If you cannot make it to SisterLove’s Motherhouse testing site in Georgia, you can get a free at-home self-testing kit.
Free At-Home COVID Tests

SisterReach is offering Memphis and Shelby County residents free at-home COVID-19 tests from Jan. 29, 2022, - Jan. 31, 2022.
SisterReach will also be holding its virtual Black Folks Day on the Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm CT. They will be holding virtual info sessions for Black Folks Day on the Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and Wednesday, Feb. 2, 6:00-7:00 pm CT.
Fuel to the Flame

Join SPARK Reproductive Justice Now for its 2022 organizing intensive, "Fuel to the Flame: Building Power for Our Communities", on Jan. 29, 2022, at 10:00 am EST. Discuss the issues that impact our communities the most and how we can build the power we need to live our most liberated lives.
SPARK RJ NOW is holding the SPARK Organizing Intensive 2022 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 10:00 am-2:00 pm ET.
Administrative Assistant Position Open

Women With a Vision is hiring an administrative assistant. The administrative assistant will report to the Executive Director and provide office management, administrative assistance and resource development.