Black History Month: honoring leaders in the Reproductive Justice movement
As a white women-led organization, we are aware that we are complicit in structures of white supremacy and that we need to do better to lift more voices, regardless of what month it is.
To honor the work of Black women for the fight for reproductive autonomy and reproductive justice, we would like to lift up some of them and their work.
What is Reproductive Justice?
Reproductive justice, a term coined in June 1994 by Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice: Toni M. Bond Leonard, Reverend Alma Crawford, Evelyn S. Field, Terri James, Bisola Marignay, Cassandra McConnell, Cynthia Newbille, Loretta Ross, Elizabeth Terry, ‘Able’ Mable Thomas, Winnette P. Willis, and Kim
Youngblood, centers “three interconnected human rights values: the right not to have children using safe birth control, abortion, or abstinence; the right to have children under the conditions we choose; and the right to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.”
Three years later, 16 organizations including black, Asian-American, Latina and indigenous women got together to create SisterSong, a collective devoted to the reproductive and sexual health of women and gender-nonconforming people of color, based in Atlanta.
Faye Wattleton was the first African American and the youngest president ever elected of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Wattleton “is credited with developing the organization’s extensive national grassroots advocacy network that became a powerful lobbying force to block efforts to restrict and overturn women’s rights to make reproductive choices.”
Former Planned Parenthood President Faye Wattleton on Why We’re Still Fighting for Reproductive Healthcare
National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee Faye Wattleton
The HistoryMakers: Faye Wattleton
Loretta J. Ross is an African American academic, feminist, and activist who advocates for reproductive justice, especially among women of color. She is a co-founder of SisterSong and one of the co-creators of the reproductive justice framework.
Johnson was a transgender activist at the forefront of pivotal moments in history. She played a large role in the Stonewall Riots and co-founded the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) along with Sylvia Rivera. She also co-founded the Gay Liberation Front.