Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Black women make 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes. And the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that Black women and their families face a greater risk of financial insecurity—"as breadwinners, they are overrepresented among workers losing their jobs and as essential workers they are risking their health and safety for minimum wage."

While none of this information is new to Black women like us, what is new are steps we can take to fix it. On June 15, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Interfaith Voices for Reproductive Justice, and SisterLove Inc. released the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda, the most comprehensive policy vision for Black communities to date.

The Agenda includes legislation that has already been introduced in Congress such as the Momnibus, HEAL, Fair Wage, Equal Pay, and REACH Acts. This innovative, first-of-its-kind policy document was written with the contribution of more than 30 Black women’s organizations and RJ advocates and covers a myriad of issues, from economic justice and environmental justice, to health equity, and voting rights.

To date, 47 states have introduced legislation restricting Black voting rights. We know that Black women’s votes were responsible for putting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House in 2020 and moving more progressives into the House of Representatives in 2018. The attacks on the voting rights of Black women are dangerous but will not deter us from voting in the future.

On June 29, we briefed elected officials in the House of Representative and the Senate on the important policy recommendations in the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda. Based on our collective understanding of community need, we included 25 RJ policy issues and legislative remedies we believe are critical to better improve the wellbeing of Black communities. The Agenda also includes federal legislation we support that has been introduced, but not yet passed plus additional solutions we will work with Congress to introduce in the coming months. Some members of Congress are already showing their support and ready to join us in this fight.

“My lived experience has shown me the intersection of abortion rights, structural racism and the denial of Black women’s bodily autonomy,” said U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams. “The Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda proposes bold and innovative solutions that focus on the daily lives of Black women and non-binary individuals. I am proud to support the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda because when we uplift and support Black women, we uplift all communities.”

Due to centuries of oppression and harm from systemic racism, there are many longstanding issues and considerations that need to be addressed to ensure that Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive people and their families not just live a good, healthy life BUT thrive. We believe the Black RJ Policy Agenda is a great place to start.

Please join us in this fight. Click here to contact your member of Congress to tell them that you support the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda. To watch a video of a recent briefing on the Agenda visit our YouTube channel. Be sure to follow us on social media at @blackwomensrj to keep up with upcoming events, action alerts, and other ways you can get involved. 

Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
After eight months of collaborative work with over 30 Black Women's organizations and Reproductive Justice advocates, the In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda is excited to introduce the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda to Congress. We hope the Agenda will serve as a tool for progress and look forward to working with Congress on Reproductive Justice-informed policies. Please take a moment to send a letter of support to your members of Congress.
Pregnant in A Time of Crisis: Improving Black Maternal Health through Advocacy and Law

Following virtual remarks from Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC), Senior Policy Manager Lexi White, participated in a panel alongside Black Women's Health Imperative Chief Policy Officer Tammy Boyd, CEO and founder National Birth Equity Collaborative Dr. Joia Adele Crear-Perry, and Chancellor's Professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law Michelle Bratcher Goodwin. The discussion explored policies and best practices to improve Black maternal health outcomes in the United States. 
The Women’s Health Protection Act  

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) was reintroduced in the House and Senate earlier this month. WHPA is essential to removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care. In advance of the hearing on WHPA before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, In Our Own Voice submitted written testimony signed by members of the Reproductive Justice community. For more information on WHPA and to read the testimony, read our blog

Positive Periods for All Menstruators
The Next Generation Leadership Institute teamed up with Black Women's Health Imperative's My Sister Keepers (MSK) program last month to highlight making positive periods a reality for all menstruators. The collaboration resulted in the "Positive Period Conversation: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021." This virtual conversation connected young people from across the nation and centered their efforts to eradicate period poverty within their communities. Get the full rundown on how our fellows and MSK Leaders have been championing equitable access to period products for all menstruators. 
'IJS (I's Just Say): 2 Black Women With Opinions' Podcast

Executive Director Janette Robinson Flint and Adjoa Jones share insights on current events, culture, policy, and wisdom for Black mothers on life, living, and joy.
Cerving Confidence

The Black Women’s Health Imperative and Project Health Equality is excited to team up with singer Ciara to encourage Black women to commit to their well-woman exams as a part of self-care and protect themselves against cervical cancer.
FYRE Media Conference 

SPARK’s annual FYRE (Fierce Youth Reclaiming and Empowering) Media Conference will take place on July 17! The FYRE program develops the civic leadership of queer, trans, and gender expansive youth of color living in the Southeast in the Reproductive Justice movement.