The country was stunned in early 2010 when 65 billboards stating “Black Children are an Endangered Species” were erected across Georgia with a sorrowful picture of a young Black child and messages accusing Black women who exercise their human and reproductive rights of committing “Genocide.” Billboards have gone up around the country in Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Texas, California, Tennessee and many other states attacking the dignity of Black women who choose to have abortions. To respond to this dangerous political campaign, SisterSong organized women from many different organizations, regions and religious backgrounds came together to form the Trust Black Women Partnership (TBW).
We are young and older women working together. We are both pro-choice and pro-life, and are not divided over the misleading debate on reproductive justice issues such as birth control, interpersonal partner violence, immigration parenting issues, incarcerated pregnant mothers, HIV positive women and abortion.
It means every woman has the human right to have a child, not have a child, and parent the children she has.
TBW seeks to increase respect, maintain dignity, and support Black women and girls with implementing reproductive health decisions that are personal, appropriate, accessible, and affordable. All women should be able to maintain their integrity when accessing reproductive health services. Black women should have self-determination to exercise basic human rights when implementing their decisions, and not be subjugated to the political winds, media campaigns and/or environment prevalent in government or society that hinders a woman’s ability to control her body and destiny.
Trust Black Women will challenge those who seek to undermine our autonomy, respect, integrity, and dignity as Black women.
There are those who believe they should control Black women's reproduction like during slavery. They believe in population control and use false compassion for children to disguise a racist and sexist agenda. Our opponents are manipulative, zealous, and immoral. They lie using religion as a cover. They try to use combination of guilt and force to undermine our human rights. They manipulate our history, our concerns about medical mistreatment, and our real collective pain about genocide and slavery to spin stories about Black women being the stupid pawns of doctors. They claim that Black women can't be trusted. They accuse us of practicing genocide on our people when we stand up for ourselves.
Our opponents are on the wrong side of the struggle for justice and human rights. While all of them may not be racist, they are at least racially-challenged. We don't fight for conservative causes that betray the people who have sacrificed for our freedom.
We don't need fanatics to tell us what to do. Black women make decisions every day about whether to parent or not, not just whether to give birth. Those who think they should dictate our choices won't be there when the child is born, to help us fight for better education, increase child care, keep our kids out of jail, send our children to college, or get affordable health care. Black women fight for ourselves and we fight to uplift our people. Our opponents either stand in the way or fail to help.
We have already stopped anti-abortion legislation in 2010 targeting Black women in Georgia. We forced billboards down in New York City. We expect them to come back in many other states. We're taking our opponents on around the country wherever they appear. New billboards are in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. We will fight these fanatics who use lies and distortions who try to manipulate our community.
In order to initiate momentum in this movement for human and reproductive rights we need your support. Our opponents have incredible access to financial and media resources. They can create and disseminate their propaganda quickly and widely, thus penetrating our community a racial and gender wedge that divides and distracts us from building unity on human rights issues. Our goal is to not work on the defense, but more on the offense. We have built a partnership that will ensure that black women can mobilize wherever such campaigns appear in African American communities.
TBW shares your values. We care about you. We represent women whose voices are not heard; whose stories are not told. We tell the truth about Black women’s lives and choices.
– Now we just need you.
Deborah Arrindell, American Social Health Association, Washington, DC
Byllye Avery, The Avery Institute and Black Women's Health Imperative, Boston
Asha Bandele, Writer, New York City
Jasmine Burnett, SisterSong New York City, Brooklyn
Folasade Campbell, Family Preservation Collective, Staten Island, NY
Crystal Crawford, California Black Women's Health Project, Los Angeles
Dazon Dixon Diallo, SisterLove Women's AIDS Project, Atlanta
Janette Robinson Flint, Black Women for Wellness, Los Angeles
Nourbese Flint, Black Women for Wellness, Los Angeles
Serena Garcia, SisterSong Communications Coordinator, Atlanta
Marcia Gillespie (in individual capacity), New York City
Paris Hatcher, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, Atlanta
Bani Hines-Hudson, Kentucky Health Justice Network, Louisville
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, Black Women's Health Imperative, Washington, DC
Laura Jimenez, SisterSong Deputy Coordinator, Atlanta
Toni Bond Leonard, Black Women for Reproductive Justice, Chicago
Pascale Leone, Black Women's Health Imperative, Washington, DC
Pamela J. Merritt, Writer & Blogger, St. Louis
Sarah Noble, Milwaukee Reproductive Justice Coalition
Mary Kay Penn, Consultant, New York City
Shanebrae Price, SisterLove Women's AIDS Project, Atlanta
Lynn Roberts, CUNY and SisterSong, New Jersey
Kelley Robinson, Choice USA, Washington, DC
Loretta Ross, SisterSong National Coordinator, Atlanta
Cherisse Scott, Reproductive Justice Activist, Memphis, TN
Belle Taylor-McGhee, Consultant, San Francisco
Emily Tynes, ACLU (in individual capacity), New York City
Nikema Williams, Planned Parenthood of SE, Atlanta
Heidi Williamson, SisterSong National Advocacy Coordinator, Atlanta
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