Good Morning,

As we move into our 19th week of working from home, the In Our Own Voice family is settling into our "new normal" and continues to work tirelessly to uplift Black women's voices. We are still absorbing the deaths of civil rights giants C. T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). All of our lives are better because of their tireless efforts and sacrifices. May they both rest in power.  In my statement about John Lewis' passing , I reminded our network of President Obama's words when he awarded Rep. Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom: "Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now."
For In Our Own Voice, "the urgency of now" really speaks to me and is reflected in the work we do every day. Sadly, Congress is not grasping the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities. In addition to battling coronavirus, many states are dealing with a declining local economy and the persistent fight against racism and police brutality.  We are demanding that legislators provide flexible funding for states to support their communities as they see fit. We are also calling on Congress to allocate funds for fair and safe elections.
With the national election less than 100 days away, we are counting on young voters to be the spark that revs the engine of change. Young people like the HBCU students who serve as fellows in our  Next Generation Leadership Institute . Through this program, we are creating a pipeline of RJ leaders who will be armed with the knowledge and tools to continue this fight. Just as it was a 23-year-old John Lewis who marched on Washington with Dr. King and addressed the crowd, today's young people — especially young Black women — are leading us to the mountaintop, where we see a just and equitable society awaiting us.
In the meantime, we continue to fight on behalf of Black women, and we remain hopeful and optimistic because of Black women.
 "If you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take that long hard look and just believe that if you're consistent, you will succeed"—John Lewis.

Marcela Howell
Founder & President
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Black Women for Wellness Action Project, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, and 14 Black RJ organizations are making their voices heard and demanding that the next COVID-19 relief package includes flexible funding for states and $3.6 billion to support fair and accessible elections—as provided by for in the HEROES Act. An official  letter  was submitted and addressed to Congressional Leadership. Join us in this nationwide call to action and request that Congress pass the HEROES Act.
Connecting the dots between clean water access and Reproductive Justice  
This month we joined forces with National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Partnership for Women and Families, and the Sierra Club to release a  report  and host a  webinar  that raised awareness about the reproductive health and justice issues that arise when clean water is inaccessible.
The Next Generation Leadership Institute team unveils a newly designed curriculum that will guide the learning outcomes for the 2020-2022 cohort of students. The curriculum will highlight the program's key competencies: Reproductive Justice, advocacy, leadership, organizing, communications, and public policy. It includes a comprehensive reading list, interactive webinars, and guest speakers. The goal is to ensure that the Next Generation Leadership Institute fellows develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes they will need to flourish as Reproductive Justice leaders on their campuses and beyond. 
We look forward to introducing you to the 2020-2022 fellows in the next issue of our newsletter.  
Congrats to our Next Generation Leadership Institute Program Manager, Giovanteey Bishop, for being named a finalist by Women In Government DC for the 2020 Advocacy Awards. Giovanteey's dedication to uplifting the next generation of Reproductive Justice leaders is hugely valued!
SisterReach COVID-19 Emergency Fund 
SisterReach has redirected $50k of its programmatic funding to partnering organizations and churches in Memphis to support the practical needs of Memphians with food, housing, and utility assistance. The organization has also added its safe sex kits and emergency contraception to this fund and will be issuing 400 masks to funding partners to distribute among their clients.
JusticeNOW2020: November 20-22, 2020
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! is gearing up for the JusticeNow2020 Virtual Conference taking place Nov. 20 -22. This conference aims to bring together activists, artists, community members, students, and many others for the advancement of Reproductive Justice.
SisterLove's Updates:
SisterLove's Policy and Advocacy Program, along with The RJ Coalition in Georgia, hosted a webinar discussing access to reproductive healthcare in early July. See the official statement on the ruling here:

SisterLove, Inc. will virtually host its Annual Healthy Love Youth Advocacy Statewide Summit (HLYASS, pronounced "Hell Yaassss"). The goal of HLYASS is to increase and strengthen the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds in challenging the sexual and reproductive health barriers and inequities they face. 
All updated partner logos
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.