For Black women the political assaults keep coming. This month we’ve seen attacks on our voting and reproductive rights. It’s clear we can’t depend on our elected officials to fight for our rights. The issues and multiple oppressions faced by Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive people have long been ignored by elected officials. Well, no more. It is time to make sure our voices are heard and we need your help.
On Sept. 27-Oct. 1 In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda will launch our seventh annual Black Reproductive Justice Week of Action (RJWOA), in collaboration with our partner organizations— Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center, and Women With a Vision, Inc. — to amplify our collective voices around policy and culture change issues that are critical to the health and well-being of Black women and the Reproductive Justice movement.

This year’s RJWOA is an opportunity to mobilize around our newly released Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda and urge members of Congress to implement policies to help liberate Black women, girls, femmes, and gender-expansive people. We cannot wait for Congress to act; we must demand that they listen to our voices.

Please join us. There are a number of ways you can get involved and lift up your voice. Keep reading the newsletter and you will find a list of our daily events and information on how you can join in our calls to action to let your voice be heard! 

Marcela Howell
President & CEO
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda
Reproductive Justice Week of Action (RJWOA)
Monday, September 27

Week of Action Signature Launch Event: The Policy Landscape and What’s at Stake for Black Communities and Reproductive Justice

Join In Our Own Voice for the RJWOA virtual kickoff event with Radio One to learn about the Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda, the current landscape, and ways to get involved. The event, hosted by on-air personality Deja Perez, will be held at 7 PM EST. Watch it live on MyMajicDC, Facebook, or YouTube.
Tuesday, September 28

Congressional Briefing: Why Black Moms Need the Momnibus and Postpartum Medicaid Coverage Now

Join In Our Own Voice at 11 AM EST for a briefing on Black Maternal Health, featuring remarks by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and moderated by Marcela Howell, President and CEO, In Our Own Voice. Register here.
Wednesday, September 29

Building a Movement for Reproductive Justice in the States

Hear from our Black RJ state partners and allies on two virtual advocacy panels about their movement-building at a state level, moderated by Lexi White, Director of State Policy and Advocacy, In Our Own Voice, and Cherisse Scott, Founder and CEO of SisterReach.

Beyond Binaries: Building State Movements for LGBTQIA+ Liberation at 12 PM EST. Register here.

Decriminalizing Blackness: Dismantling Systems That Punish Our Bodies at 6 PM EST. Register here.
Thursday, September 30

Voter Suppression is Repro Oppression: Building Power Against State Attacks on Voting Rights and Reproductive Justice

Join us at 1 PM EST for a virtual briefing on Voting Rights and Reproductive Justice, moderated by Lexi White, Director of State Policy and Advocacy, In Our Own Voice. Register here.
Friday, October 1

The Future of RJ: Activism on HBCU Campuses

Join us on Instagram Live (@blackwomensrj) to hear from our Next Generation Leadership Institute Fellows about their on-campus mobilizing for Reproductive Justice, moderated by Giovanteey Bishop, Senior Program Manager, Next Generation Leadership Institute, In Our Own Voice. Watch here.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Advanced Critical Maternal Health Investments in the Build Back Better Act  
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced critical maternal health investments in the Committee’s markup of the Build Back Better Act. The Act includes key maternal health investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and a mandatory provision that will make federal funds permanently available for states to spend on expanded postpartum Medicaid and CHIP coverage to one year in every state, with full state plan benefits throughout pregnancy and the yearlong postpartum period. The legislation now goes to the House Committee on Budget before heading to the full House of Representatives and the Senate. In Our Own Voice has been a strong supporter of these investments on the Hill. 

On Sept. 23, during a press conference co-hosted by In Our Own Voice, Marcela Howell, President and CEO, spoke with members of Congress urging the inclusion of these maternal health investments in the final reconciliation package.  
RJ Amicus Brief filed in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization 
On Sept. 21, in partnership with Mississippi in Action, Women With A Vision, and other Reproductive Justice organizations and advocates across the country, In Our Own Voice filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where the court will consider whether pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional. 

Bans like the Mississippi 15-week ban disproportionately harm Black people. This brief discusses how Black people already face barriers to accessing abortion care and how targeted bans on reproductive autonomy are rooted in a legacy of structural racism. Read the full amicus brief here.
"Conversation With an Expert featuring Marcela Howell" In Partnership with State Innovation Exchange
In Our Own Voice partnered with State Innovation Exchange (SiX) to host a “Conversation With Expert” featuring In Our Own Voice President and CEO, Marcela Howell and moderated by Jennifer Driver, Senior Director of Reproductive Rights at SiX. This conversation discusses the Black RJ Policy Agenda and how State Legislators can utilize this agenda as a resource to advance innovative policy ideas at the state level.

Watch the full conversation here.
National Black Women Leaders & Allies Call to Action for Voting Rights & Reproductive Justice 
In Our Own Voice President and CEO Marcela Howell joined the National Coalition on Black Civil Participation and other Black women leaders and allies on Sept. 15 at the steps of the Supreme Court for a Day of Action, urging Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation. Read Marcela’s blog about the Day of Action.
Texas S.B. 8 Abortion Ban
In Our Own Voice condemned the failure of SCOTUS to block Texas’ S.B. 8, a law that bans abortion after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue anyone they believe has violated the ban. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the ban on Sept. 9 — a move applauded by In Our Own Voice.
Call for Reproductive Justice Conference Abstracts 

Black Women for Wellness is seeking submissions of related research, reports or analysis that address African American/Black women’s reproductive health and well-being. The goal is to highlight actions, information or strategies that can move propel Black women forward. 
Equity in the Workplace Initiative 

Black Women’s Health Imperative has launched a national, multi-year anti-racism initiative that will tackle workplace inequities in order to improve the health and wellness of Black women. By implementing evidence-based strategies that account for gender and race, the BWHI aims to create tangible, measurable, long-term change by centering the voices of Black women and their experiences in the workplace.
Free HIV Testing 

SisterLove is providing free and confidential HIV testing, easily scheduled online or over the phone. In-person and mail-in testing are both available. 
10 Year Gala and RJ Awards Ceremony
Join SisterReach Staff & Board of Directors on Oct. 30 to celebrate ten years of Reproductive Justice advocacy in Tennessee and across the nation! This black-tie celebration will feature founding Reproductive Justice Mother Dr. Toni Bond as guest keynote speaker and Grammy-nominated singer Eric Roberson as musical guest. Attendees can join virtually or in person. Tickets are available now.