Give Affordable Healthcare This Mother’s Day

Leandra Lacy

Leandra Lacy, SPARK Spring ’14 Intern

This Mama’s Day, we recognize and celebrate the tenacity of Black mothers living in Georgia and the South. Many of these women are struggling to support their families while living under the pressure of structural violence and deserve access to resources that help maintain their health, safety, and wellbeing and that of their families. Unfortunately, due to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid eligibility and therefore healthcare access in Georgia, many of these women are forced to go without quality, competent healthcare.

Every day, I strive to honor my mother’s strength as I fight for healthcare access for the hundreds of thousands of low-income uninsured Georgians, many of whom are women and children. As an intern at SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, I have compiled research on the impact that Medicaid expansion would have on low-income Black women and low-income Black LGBTQQ communities in Georgia. The benefits to expansion are incredible. 650,000 Georgians would be eligible for healthcare, thousands of lives would be saved costing the state zero dollars for the first three years.

My mother became the sole provider of my household when my father passed away. Fortunately, she receives medical and dental care benefits that extend and provide coverage for my sister and me due to provisions of the Affordable Care Act that allow us to remain on our mother’s policy until age 26. Though we are extremely blessed to have healthcare under my mother’s plan, I wonder about those young people whose parents are not employed or underemployed. How can they get covered? What of the children of the 70% of Black workers employed in blue-collar jobs that typically provide low wages and are less likely to even offer health insurance coverage?

However, there are plenty of mothers and families in Georgia who must face the unfortunate reality of living without healthcare coverage. Black women in Georgia earn an average of 62.1 cents for every dollar earned by a non-Hispanic white male. Low-income women are more likely to forgo doctor’s visits, getting recommended tests, and following up care due to costs. While this should be alarming to all Georgians, our Governor is currently set to sign into law yet another piece of legislation that would increase the barriers between Black women and their families and quality, competent healthcare.

Black women have the right to healthcare for themselves and their families. I firmly believe that the key to leading a fulfilling life is being the healthiest person you can be, and this is why I am fighting for Medicaid expansion in Georgia. So that all low-income Black mothers can have access to health services outlined in the Affordable Care Act. By making coverage more affordable, the expansion will give these mothers and their children a chance to take advantage of resources that will keep them healthy. This Mother’s Day, let’s all pledge to give our mama’s a gift they can use year-round and one that saves their lives! You can join the fight for Medicaid expansion today by visiting sparkrj.org.

Leandra Lacy is a Black feminist from Columbia, South Carolina who enjoys soul food and sunny days. As an intern with SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, she is able to use her passion for health promotion and advocacy on behalf of Black women. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, after earning her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2013. She is interested in comprehensive sexual health education for Black female adolescents and teens and, in the future, she hopes to work in underprivileged communities in the South as a health educator.

This piece was originally posted on the Strong Families Blog.

ANITA: Speaking Truth to Power

ANITASPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is honored to be co-sponsoring a screening of ANITA, a powerful new documentary exploring the life and legacy of Anita Hill, will open in Atlanta on Friday, April 4, at the Regal Tara Cinemas 4. Join Spark Reproductive Justice Now for a special screening and Q.A. with Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall.

ABOUT THE FILM

An entire country watched transfixed as a poised, beautiful African-American woman in a blue dress sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. That October day in 1991 Anita Hill, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma, was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure.

Anita Hill’s graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that resonates still today. She has become an American icon, empowering millions of women and men around the world to stand up for equality and justice.

Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, ANITA reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family, many of whom were by her side that fateful day 22 years ago. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. She also candidly discusses what happened to her life and work in the 22 years since.

Join Our Team: Apply to be the Speak Justice Take Action Field Director!

Organization Mission and Overview

Founded in 2007, SPARK is a vibrant statewide reproductive justice organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. SPARK advocates for sound sexual and reproductive health policy by ensuring the perspective and leadership of women of color, young parents, and LGBTQQ youth of color are part of the reproductive justice movement. We foster a collaborative model of advocacy, leadership, collective grassroots organizing and action, voter engagement, and discourse for reproductive justice.  Our mission is to collaborate with individuals, communities, and organizations to grow and sustain a powerful reproductive justice movement in Georgia and the South.

SPARK incorporates leadership development, media justice training, and civic engagement programs for women and young queer people of color through our three core programs: Fierce Youth Reclaiming and Empowering, Women of Color Organizing and Public Policy Initiative, and Speak Justice Take Action.

SPARK is a small team of committed, dynamic and smart people who work hard, laugh easily and are eager to attract, develop, and support leaders like you in creating social justice. Find out more about us at www.sparkrj.org.

Position Overview

The Speak Justice Take Action Field Director is a senior level full-time position with benefits leading the Speak Justice Take Action Program. Speak Justice Take Action (SJTA) is SPARK’s signature longstanding program led on the principle that civic engagement and direct mobilization are vital to making and sustaining real change in our communities. The Field Director is charged with garnering public support for reproductive justice by organizing, implementing, and evaluating field plans to win on our campaign issues along with networking and connecting with social movement partners. The position will contribute strategic and political analysis and work closely with the Executive Director and field team to build coalitions and alliances with strategic partners. The role understands comprehensive campaigns, field operations, youth empowerment, and adult education methods to develop culturally appropriate capacity building activities and civic engagement opportunities for partners both locally and in the field.  This position will require a minimum of 25% in-state travel.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Speak Justice, Take Action Program: Work includes developing political education curriculum, facilitating workshops; creating and implementing a recruitment strategy to grow the program; doing leadership development with program participants; implementing evaluation systems; and handling logistics functions; responsible for organizing signature “Legislate This!” day of action.
  • Campaign planning and implementation: Develop and support campaign to expand Medicaid in Georgia; support on-going campaigns as they emerge, helping SPARK take meaningful and strategic action
  • Relationship Building and Management: Builds relationships with key partners including allied social justice organizations in the civil rights, criminal justice, women’s, LGBT, and youth movements across the state; identify places of collaboration and shared action; leverage relationships to increase support for RJ campaigns; represent SPARK at coalition meetings
  • Evaluation: Create and implement consistent evaluation as part of program development
  • Administration and Fundraising: Perform core administrative duties for position including budget management, reporting, and logistical support; assist with fundraising duties as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS

  • BA/BS minimum Masters level or higher preferred
  • Personal qualities of integrity, understands the importance of credibility with community partners, and dedication to the mission of SPARK
  • Stellar communication skills: including strong writing, social media engagement, and motivational public speaking ability
  • Licensed driver with experience traveling throughout the state of Georgia successfully working with rural and urban communities on voter engagement and social justice issues.
  • 3+ years previous community, labor, student, faith-based or related organizing experience
  • Politically savvy, creative intellectual with seasoned experience working in a fast-paced small non-profit environment on progressive campaign issues in a conservative state.
  • Successful experience with 3+ years leading and managing diverse staff in a collaborative format with ethnically, culturally, and gender diverse populations prioritizing multiracial transgender inclusion
  • Computer skills: working knowledge of campaign databases including the Voter Activation Network, Word processing, spreadsheet, excel and multimedia presentation software
  • English fluency required; other language(s) desirable (Spanish)
  • Familiarity with 501(c)3 and non-profit management
  • Ability to work independently and in a team
  • Ability to work long hours, including nights and weekends

SALARY & BENEFITS

The salary for this position will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience.  SPARK offers full medical benefits package, including vacation and medical leave.

LOCATION

The candidate must be located in or willing to relocate to Atlanta, GA.

APPLICATION PROCESS

The application deadline is Monday, April 14, 2014.

A complete application will include a cover letter, resume and writing sample. Applications are preferred via email to info@sparkrj.org. Place “Speak Justice Take Action Field Director” in the subject line. Applications may also be sent to SPARK RJ Now, Attn: Hiring Committee, P.O. Box 89210, Atlanta GA 30312.

No phone calls please. If you have any questions, email info@sparkrj.org.

SPARK is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the bases of race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit based factor.

Download this Job Announcement: SPARK Field Director Position