HOW IS EXPERIENCING CAR TROUBLE JUST CAUSE FOR DEATH?

Tulsa, Oklahoma September 17, 2016 – Police shot an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher, at close range after he walked slowly, with his hands up, to his vehicle. His death is the latest in a series of unjustified police-involved murders, resulting from deep systemic problems that continue to go unaddressed at the peril of black men, women, and even children, across the nation.

Mr. Crutcher, a father of four, was on his way home from attending classes at a local community college when his SUV broke down on the side of the road. Officer Betty Shelby arrived at the scene after police reportedly received reports of an abandoned vehicle blocking a road. Video recorded by a police helicopter and a patrol car’s dashboard camera shows Mr. Crutcher raising his hands and leaning against his car before he was tasered by a second officer, Tyler Turnbough, who had been called onto the scene by Shelby along with two other officers. Shelby then shot Mr. Crutcher, and has since been put on paid administrative leave. It was later reported that Shelby is a trained EMS basic and had a trauma bag issued in her trunk but did not render aid to the wounded victim, who lay bleeding on the ground before her. Mr. Crutcher was eventually taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The footage released exposes how racial bias contributes to systemic flaws in the justice system that put black lives at risk. An officer in the police helicopter is heard saying that Mr. Crutcher “looks like a bad dude” despite having no interaction with the victim.

Terence Crutcher’s death is the latest in almost 400 police murders of black men in the US since the start of 2015. This shooting follows police murders of unarmed black men, women and teenage boys in Ohio, Minnesota and Cleveland.

The Department of Justice will open a civil rights investigation into the shooting, as well as recommendations of whether criminal charges should be filed against the officers. U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams said the Department of Justice’s inquiry will be separate from the local investigation. “The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of force by law enforcement officers and will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated,” he said.

Speaking Monday in Tulsa, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said Crutcher committed no crime and gave officers no reason to shoot him.

“When unarmed people of color break down on the side of the road, we’re not treated as citizens needing help. We’re treated as, I guess, criminals — suspects that they fear,” said Crump, who is representing Crutcher’s family just as he did relatives of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, black Florida teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012.

“So I guess it’s a crime now to be a big black man,” Crump said. “My God, help us.”

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW stands and kneels with Terence Crutcher’s family at this tragic time and calls for a national referendum on the state of racial equality in our justice system. Preconceived notions rooted in a complex and conflicted racial history continue to affect the daily lives of black and brown people across the nation and it is our responsibility to make a difference. For more inform

ALWAYS.

ALWAYS.

ation on SPARK and the recent brutal events contact:

Dr. Krystal Redman
Executive Director
SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!
404-331-3250
krystal@sparkrj.org
www.sparkrj.org

MSM Symposium – 2016 “RETAINING GREATNESS”

FullSizeRenderThe Georgia Department of Public Health, HIV and STD Offices, present the MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) Symposium – 2016. The purpose of the MSM Symposium is to create a face to face forum for the MSM Community and Health Care Providers to meet and discuss health, cultural and policy issues.

The Symposium was created to give the community access to information and provide a safe forum with open discussions to facilitate community mobilization and encourage empowerment.

If you have questions or require technical assistance, please contact John Malone at John.Malone@dph.ga.gov or Leonardo Parker at Leonardo.Parker@dph.ga.gov.  Also, visit the MSM Symposium Webpage for additional information at: dph.ga.gov/MSM


Atlanta, GA (September 29, 2016 – October 1, 2016)

Registration – MSM Symposium 2016

Eventbrite Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/msm-symposium-2016-atlanta-ga-tickets-26565964515

The Georgia Department of Public Health is proud to announce that registration is now open for the MSM Symposium in Atlanta, GA.

Loudermilk Conference Center
40 Courtland St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

The Board of Directors of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! is currently accepting applications for a vacant member position.

The candidate filling this vacancy will serve as a member of the Board of Directors through December 2018. 

Organization:

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! (SPARK) is a reproductive justice (RJ) organization based in Atlanta, GA, working to shift policy and culture to protect and expand access to the full range of family planning options, abortion access, and sexual and reproductive health education for Black women, women of color, and LGBTQQ youth of color in the state of Georgia and the South.

Mission Statement:

SPARK’s mission is to build new leadership, change culture and advance knowledge in Georgia and the South to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, gender, sexualities and lives.

 

Vision:

SPARK envisions a world where economic, social and cultural equity, restorative justice, body autonomy and comprehensive reproductive and sexual freedom exists; where all people are empowered, valued, and able to make liberatory decisions about their communities, families and lives.

 

Value:

SPARK works to ensure the liberation of all people but our analysis is specifically anchored in the historical lasting legacy of the enslavement and exploitation of Black people in the South, this legacy includes economic disenfranchisement, racial inequality and reproductive oppression, who were at the site of labor domination, violence and experimentation. This is why we center Black women, women of color and queer/trans* youth of color.

Core Constituencies:

  • Black Women (ages 18-50)
  • Women of Color (ages 18-50)
  • LGBTQ Youth of Color (ages 18-30)

Job Description:

This is a volunteer position available on the Board of Directors. Board members will attend monthly and quarterly meetings via Skype, telephone or in person, as well as, participate in strategic planning, policy-making and fundraising efforts for the organization. Up to three individuals will be appointed to fill the vacant positions until the December 2018 elections have been held and certified and a newly elected individuals have been sworn-in to fill the remainder of these positions’ term.

Qualifications

Diversity of ethnicity, gender, economic status, and neighborhood location

We are seeking board members who represent different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and gender, and economic situation.

A commitment to gender justice and racial justice work

Board members will participate in the ongoing work to ensure that all genders – cis-gender, trans-gender, and gender non-conforming individuals – have full access to the health, rights, and justice with respect and dignity, as well as racial justice work rooted in the Black Southern experience to ensure the alignment of all areas of the organization with its stated mission, values and vision, relationships, practices, policies, and programs.

Ability to work with diverse communities

Board members must be able to relate to, communicate with, and respect differences of opinion, embrace all gender identities and sexual orientations, and value hearing new voices as well as lived experiences.

Management or leadership experience

SPARK would be well served to have a few individuals on its board that have experience managing nonprofit or for profit corporations, either as staff, board members, legal counsel, development professionals, accountants, human resources managers, or in other management facets.

Understanding of the role of movement building in social change

Board members values SPARK’s role as a non-profit organization with its own priorities and objectives AND as a movement building organization that contributes to other organizations and movements through analysis, strategic partnerships, and consciousness raising to make social change. We challenge racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism or other forms of oppression; and question mainstream culture and beliefs in an effort to shift culture and improve the lives of the most vulnerable, particularly in the South.

Commitment to innovative fundraising and resource development

Board members willing to fundraise through network of contacts, including individuals, activists and organizations working in this field.

Community Partnership/Collaboration Leadership Skills

Board members commitments to growing SPARK’s diverse network of national allies, community partners, and constituents.

 

Interested persons must submit a letter expressing interest in the board position and their qualifications for the position to Dr. Krystal Redman, the Executive Director, no later than September 16th, 5:00 p.m. (EST).

 

Following a review of the submitted materials, the board will schedule interviews with selected candidates. Not all candidates for the board vacancy will be interviewed. If you have any questions concerning the role of the Board of Directors and the responsibilities of a board member, please contact:

Dr. Krystal Redman, Executive Director, at: krystal@sparkrj.org.

Meet Our New Team Members!

We are pleased to welcome Iman Geddy and Taylor Trimble to our team!

Iman will join SPARK in August 2016 as the Digital Communications & Development Coordinator along with Taylor as the Office Administrator. Read up on them below and join us in extending a warm welcome to Iman and Taylor as they help us to build and sustain a powerful reproductive justice movement in Georgia and throughout the South!

13819438_10154981166209688_1564678767_nIman Geddy is an African writer and illustrator whose work engages the experiences of the black diaspora as it relates to gender identity. She is currently pursuing a degree in Marketing and Communications at Georgia State University with a self-directed focus on the representation of people of color in the media. As an immigrant and a muslim, Iman is sensitive to LGBTQ rights particularly within marginalized communities and hopes to further explore these intersections in the context of the South’s legacy as the birthplace of America’s civil rights movement.

 

Born and raised in Georgia, Taylor Trimble takes pride in the communities and cultures they inhabit. As co-founder of Southern Fried Queer Pride, they champion the intersections of social justice, the arts, and community building specifically in the queer and trans communities.

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FYRE Media Justice Camp 2016 Extension & Announcement

We are extending our FYRE Media Justice Camp applications until THIS Thursday, June 23rd. This program centers the voices and experiences of Queer & Trans individuals and focuses on Reproductive Justice and Social Justice related issues effecting our Queer and Trans communities of color as well as our black communities. Given our goal of connecting the stories and experiences of queer and trans youth of color and young black women, we are opening space to include young Black women allies and advocates (18-30) who have an understanding of the intersections of Reproductive Justice and Queer Liberation.

Apply here.

FMJC16-IG

SPARK Stands with Women in the Fight for Reproductive Justice and Health Equity

By Shayla Robinson

In 2016, it should be an undeniable fact that restrictions around reproductive health services for women, including access to abortion care and health coverage, serve as a detrimental barrier to full health equity across the nation. From national bills, such as the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits insurance providers from covering abortion services for state and federal employees, as well as bans Medicaid coverage of abortion services, to the most recent attacks on reproductive health centers, including Planned Parenthood Centers; all of which are prime examples of systemic barriers that prohibit reproductive justice and freedom. The lack of access to healthcare and full comprehensive coverage for women, especially in Georgia, represents a serious challenge to women’s bodily autonomy and ability to make choices for herself and her family.

The current political climate highlights how these issues surrounding access to healthcare and reproductive services affect Georgia women. It is estimated that over 600,000 women in Georgia do not have adequate health coverage, owing in part to the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid. Such a failure only further increases the disparities in health and reproductive services available to vulnerable populations of women, such as women of color, Black women, women who have low-income, and queer and trans women. Lack of adequate health care only exacerbates other issues related to sexual and reproductive health, such as the high rates of maternal mortality in Georgia, with 30 deaths occurring per every 100,000 births. Unsurprisingly, these issues affect women along racial and socioeconomic lines, with low-income women of color bearing the brunt of the inequity.

Determining whether or not to have an abortion is never simple because no circumstance exists within a vacuum. Our communities’ make these decisions based on the economic opportunities, health insurance status as well as family and social support. Lack of access to services and coverage increases the complexity of the circumstances and robs women of their agency. Thus is why there is a need to focus statewide efforts on closing the coverage gap and center on Medicaid expansion activities, as well as, changing health care policy in Georgia.

Lack of comprehensive reproductive health services and education can also be seen in the state of Georgia’s funding of crisis pregnancy centers, otherwise known as “fake abortion clinics,” as opposed to funding licensed, medical clinics that provide vital health and reproductive services to women. Not only do these “fake abortion clinics” being endorsed and funded act as decoys and barriers to abortion care services, later abortion care services have also been banned in the state. Georgia, along with Florida, served as one of the only Southern states that provided outpatient abortions after 20 weeks. After the ban, which prohibited abortions after twenty weeks from fertilization, the rate of women who received abortions services after twenty weeks dropped by forty percent.  Women are increasingly forced into making decisions that do not serve or represent their needs.

Given that over 84% of women become mothers before the age of 40, it is important that women not only have adequate comprehensive sexual and reproductive and healthcare, but social and economic resources to ensure that they will be able to care and provide for their children. This is why SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW stands with Black women, women of color, queer and trans women. We stand with all women.  Ensuring that all women have equitable access to adequate health services will ensure that women will be able to thrive and make choices for themselves and their families, not out of desperation, but based on what is truly best for their lives.

Meet Shayla Robinson!

We are pleased to welcome Shayla Robinson to the SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW family as our new Program Specialist/Organizer!

Shayla RobinsonShayla Robinson is a Southern same-gender loving femme woman. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Women’s Studies and Art History. At UGA, she served as the Co-President of Triota, the Women’s Studies Honor Society and was an LGBT Resource Center Ambassador. These engagements allowed her to become more involved with her community, where she was able to promote diverse perspectives and viewpoints and foster a safe space for LGBT people of color. In the fall, she will begin her Master’s in Women’s and Gender Studies at Georgia State University. She is interested in pursuing scholarship related to Afrofuturism and Black Feminist Thought, especially Love Politics, as well as a career that focuses on social justice and liberation for all marginalized groups.

“I am excited to join the SPARK team because reproductive justice is an issue that touches all members of marginalized communities, and I want to utilize my talents for the betterment of marginalized communities in the South, and creating a more inclusive home for all LGBT+ folks of color who want to live and love in the South,” states Shayla.

We are honored to have Shayla as a member of our team and know we will accomplish great things together! Join us in welcoming Shayla Robinson and wishing her the best in her journey with SPARK.

Her Radiant Light Honors Revolutionary Warrior Women

Her Radiant LightJoin SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW & SisterSong tomorrow for Her Radiant Light, a candlelight vigil honoring and celebrating the lives of 16 tremendous, revolutionary, warrior women.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, we hope to create a collective space for lifting, remembering, and healing to restore our collective spirits and connect us to the resilient, freedom-seeking women who are no longer with us.


Event Details

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
7:30PM – 8:30PM
Brownwood Park
602 Brownwood Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316

Facebook Event

Thank You!

LT2016 Group Photo

Thank you to everyone who came out to the 9th Annual LegislateTHIS! This day would not have been possible without your continued support of SPARK and dedication to realizing Reproductive Justice in Georgia and the South!

Across Generations Pt. 2 to follow the 9th Annual LegislateTHIS!

Across Generations Pt. 2Join SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW on February 18th at 6:30PM at “Across Generations Pt. 2”, an inter-generational panel of local organizers, elders, and artivists honoring Black History Month. We will discuss Black Queer & Trans organizing in the South focusing on the theme “Liberating Our Bodies, Our Communities, Our Futures.”

This event will follow the 9th Annual LegislateTHIS! and continue the powerful conversation we hosted in October 2015 during LGBTQ History Month.


Event Details

Thursday, February 18th, 2016
6:30PM – 8:00PM
Phillip Rush Center Annex
1530 DeKalb Ave Ne, Atlanta, GA 30307

RSVP on Facebook

This event will replace our monthly Kick It with SPARK and is open to all, prioritizing space for LGBTQQ youth of color (16 – 25) to socialize, build community, and find resources.