Abortion Access and Contraceptive Equity: A Matter of Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

By Dr. Krystal Redman

As we work progressively in the fight towards social and economic equality, we must continue to include the argument of sexual and reproductive justice in order to takes steps towards achieving complete contraceptive equity, which includes access to safe and affordable abortion services. Contraceptive equity is the freedom to choose the contraceptive choice that works best for oneself. Furthermore, that all options are available and affordable, including access to adequate information regarding choice and patient-centered medical guidance. Contraceptive equity is only achieved through reproductive justice. In that, reproductive justice looks at the interconnectivity-transformational framework that links health, sexuality, and human rights to the social justice movement. Reproductive justice means having complete bodily autonomy over ones reproductive and sexual health, with supporting policies and legislation in place that protects an individual’s decision over their body. Meaning, all individuals should have the right and ability to access the contraceptive method they chose is best for them.

Read More

Trans Justice is Reproductive Justice

Trans Justice is Repro Justice21 trans women, largely trans women of color and many of them Black, have been murdered in the United States in 2015. In death, they’ve been mis-gendered, deadnamed, shamed and blamed for their murder, and denied self-determination. From mainstream media to elected officials, even our progressive movements, their struggles have remained largely invisible.  Business as usual.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected hate violence, in 2014 50% of homicide victims were transgender women of color, transgender people of color were 6.2 times more likely to experience police violence, and 1.6 times more likely to experience physical violence. We know that across the board, trans people of color, particularly Black trans folks, are more likely to experience discrimination and violence in housing, employment, and healthcare. Simply put, trans communities of color are in a state of emergency. Enough is enough.

On #BlackTransLiberationTuesday, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! stands in solidarity with our Black trans friends, lovers, colleagues, and accomplices in the fight for justice and liberation of all our communities. We condemn the senseless violence and constant devaluing of your lives. We uplift and name the ways in which trans women of color, particularly Black trans women, disproportionately face the brunt of this racist, sexist, transphobic, transmisogynist world. We speak your names. We affirm that Trans Justice is Reproductive Justice. We must fight for Black Trans Lives.

We call their names . . .

Papi Edwards. Lamia Beard. Ty Underwood. Yazmin Vash Payne. Taja DeJesus. Penny Proud. Bri Golec. Kristina Gomez Reinwald. Keyshia Blige. Vanessa Santillan. Mya Hall. London Chanel. Mercedes Williamson. Jasmine Collins. India Clarke. K.C. Haggard. Amber Monroe. Shade Schuler. Kandis Capri. Elisha Walker. Tamara Dominguez.

We remember you.  We love you. We honor your memory by fighting for those left behind to build a future free from violence!

In community power,

The SPARK Family


 

Two Ways to Take Action NOW!

Raise your consciousness: 24 Actions You NEED to Take to Help Trans Women of Color Survive

Raise your voice: Find a #BlackTransLiberationTuesday event in your area!

If you’re in Atlanta, show up tonight at Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama St, Atlanta, GA to show your support and love for Black trans people, especially Black trans women. Facebook Event

Celebrate with SPARK!

You are cordially invited to celebrate our newly re-opened space, the great work of our dedicated staff, and to meet our new Executive Director, Dr. Krystal Redman.

Join us as we honor this new chapter at SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! and discuss the latest and greatest of what we’ve been up to!

SPARK in 2015

When & Where
Thursday, September 3, 2015 @ 6:00PM – 8:00PM
250 Georgia Hill Ave, Suite 207C, ATL, GA 30312

RSVP Requested by Monday, August 31st!

Light refreshments and beverages will be provided!

We look forward to seeing you soon,

The SPARK Family

Kick It with SPARK! – Ice Cream Social Edition!

Ice-Cream-SocialAs the summer heat rises, come cool down with US at Kick It with SPARK! – Ice Cream Social Edition! We’ll provide yummy ice cream treats and board games, but feel free to bring some of your personal favorites.

When & Where
Thursday, July 23, 2015 @ 6PM
250 Georgia Hill Ave, Suite 207C, ATL, GA 30312

Refreshments will be provided!

RSVP on Facebook

This event is a collaboration with Georgia Equality.

Kick It With SPARK! is a monthly program for LGBTQQ youth of color (16 – 25) to have a dedicated space to socialize, build community, and find resources. It will be held every fourth Thursday of each month.

SPARK Celebrates U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality and Upholding Obamacare Subsidies!

July 1, 2015 – ATLANTA, GEORGIA

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in upholding marriage equality for all. We also celebrate the Court’s decision to protect affordable healthcare for millions of women and families in the King v. Burwell decision. These rulings mark great victories in our communities’ fight for social justice and liberation. Last week, the Court took major steps in the right direction, and yet, we still have miles to go.

“As we celebrate these accomplishments, we know our work is not done. Queer and trans people of color, particularly Black women and youth of color, continue to face homelessness, unemployment, discrimination in the workplace, and violence. Additionally, many of our constituents lack access to affordable quality, culturally competent healthcare services, and in some cases, complete denial of care,” says Dr. Krystal Redman, SPARK Executive Director.

These victories present great opportunities for us to re-commit ourselves to all the issues that directly impact the most marginalized families in our communities. We recognize that marriage equality is one pathway to recognize all families under the law, but does not reflect the myriad of challenges queer and trans communities face in building their families. That is why our commitment to close the coverage gap in Georgia and ensure comprehensive access to reproductive health services including abortion services is so critical.

As we continue this important work, we need your support to build and sustain a reproductive justice movement in the Deep South that allows us to advocate for policies and practices that empower young families throughout Georgia and foster sustainable change. Your generous gift allows us amplify the voices of those often most marginalized in public policy conversations to shift policy, practice, and culture.

Please give and join us in our call to action: SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

Sincerely,

Dr. Krystal Redman
Executive Director
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

Come Kick It With SPARK!

Kick It FlyerJoin SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW for our first Kick It With SPARK! as we host a screening of Out in the Night. Directed by blair dorosh-walther, this documentary chronicles the lives of a group of Black lesbians, dubbed by the media as a “gang of Killer Lesbians,” following their arrest after a man violently threatened them and they defended themselves. “The award-winning Out in the Night examines the sensational case and the women’s uphill battle, revealing the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in our criminal justice system.”

When & Where
Thursday, June 25, 2015 @ 6PM
250 Georgia Hill Ave, Suite 316, ATL, GA 30312

Refreshments will be provided!

RSVP on Facebook

This event is a collaboration with Georgia Equality and POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series. Visit their website at www.pbs.org/pov for more information on this film and more.

Kick It With SPARK! is a monthly program for LGBTQQ youth of color (16 – 25) to have a dedicated space to socialize, build community, and find resources. It will be held every fourth Thursday of each month.

Reproductive Justice Activists Oppose Latest Anti-Abortion Billboard Campaign Targeting Black Women in Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective (monica@sistersong.net)

Sponsoring Organizations: SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, SisterLove, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Racial Justice Action Center, Georgia WAND, Kindred Collective, Southerners on New Ground, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

May 29, 2015 – ATLANTA, GEORGIA

GA BillboardA coalition of Atlanta-based reproductive justice and reproductive health organizations – organized by SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective & Trust Black Women have joined forces to defeat Pro-Life Across America ‘s anti-choice billboard campaign targeting Black women and Black communities in Atlanta, GA. SisterSong, in collaboration with other social justice organizations will host a community town hall meeting on June 4, 2015 at their offices located at 1237 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, SW to raise community awareness, to hear the concerns from Black women in the community impacted by the billboard and to strategize grassroots solutions to prevent future visual media attacks on reproductive self-determination in our city and state in the future. The press conference will begin at 6:30pm followed by the town hall meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Activists have identified billboards located at the following intersections: Lee St. SW at White St. SW, Alison Ct. SW at Delowe Dr. and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW at Pryor St. SW.

The current anti-choice billboard campaign erected in past weeks feature a large image of a young, vibrant Black child overlain with brightly colored statement, stating “Dad’s Princess,” and a reminder that an embryo has a “Heartbeat at #18 Days. The billboard at the intersection of Alison Ct. and Delowe features a white child with the messaging that an unborn child can hear their mother’s voice before they are born.

”These billboards are nothing more than a consistent attempt to instill fear and shame around making our own decisions about what is best for our bodies and families, “ commented Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.

”Reproductive justice exists when all people can fully and freely exercise autonomy over their own bodies, relationships, and families – and that this includes the basic human right to have children, not to have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments, “ said Simpson “The current billboard messaging and placement in predominantly Black communities is an open attack on Black women’s bodily autonomy and self-determination. We know that the use of manipulative anti-abortion media that erases Black women is also a powerful way to attack Black women, to vilify those who do not carry their pregnancies to term, and to stigmatize abortion in general. We will not look the other way as they attack Black women in our city. We must also ensure these billboards do not spread to other communities of color. These billboards must go,” commented Simpson.

Cherisse Scott, Founder and CEO of SisterReach, a Memphis based Reproductive Justice organization and founding member of Trust Black Women successfully defeated Pro-Life America by getting their billboards removed from their city and stands in solidarity with Black women in Atlanta. She states, “We stand in solidarity with SisterSong against this anti-woman, pro-birth campaign targeting Black fathers. We are clear that the campaign is disingenuous and that Pro-Life Across America is not invested in the Georgia communities which it has erected these racist and inflammatory billboards. This divisive campaign only highlights the egregious motives of Prolife Across America rather than their willingness to work with communities to change the lived conditions of the people within them.”

This latest billboard campaign is the latest incarnation of an ongoing visual media strategy advanced by conservative groups to discredit and invalidate women’s human right to choose not to have a child. In SisterSong’s successful 2010 campaign against a similar billboard campaign in Atlanta, initiated by the Radiance Foundation.

###

Give BIG to SPARK on Give OUT Day!

Give-OUT-Day-'15-Collage

Greetings SPARK Community:

Today marks the 3rd Annual Give OUT Day! For 24 hours, the LGBTQQ community and our allies will come together to fund our movements on our own terms. We need YOUR help to continue working at the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQQ liberation in the South. Give OUT Day is the time to go in and GIVE big to SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

As SPARK celebrates 8 years of advocating against the violence, discrimination, and disenfranchisement that disproportionately impacts Black women and Queer and Trans people of color in the Deep South, we recognize that our work now is more important than ever. Based in Georgia, SPARK recognizes how essential it is to invest in movements that prioritize the experiences of Black women and Queer and Trans people of color, particularly youth of color, and this commitment is demonstrated throughout all our programming. Your support allows us to ensure that the leadership and voices of those most affected by the political conditions of the South are centered in the reproductive justice movement!

This year, SPARK seeks to raise $1,500.00 to support the work of our signature programs!

  • The Speak Justice Take Action program educates our constituency on the legislative process and offers policy analysis using a Queer political frame. From advocating for proactive anti-shackling legislation to closing the coverage gap, our “Legislate THIS!” Day of Action brings our community members to the Georgia State Capitol to lobby our elected officials and empower youth leaders to share their stories.
  • The Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering program provides queer and trans youth of color with the skills and resources to generate their own media and strengthen their communities through peer support and community based-research published through blogs, editorials, social media, and television and radio interviews to combat mainstream narratives that overlook our communities. FYRE also organizes our annual Media Justice Camps.
  • The SPARK Organizing Institute trains queer and trans youth of color and young women of color on RJ issue advocacy, grassroots organizing, community mobilization, and strategic communications to foster the potential and leadership within our movements.

How Can You Help?

  1. Give! You have until 11:59PM TONIGHT to make your doantion.
  2. Fundraise with us! Create your own fundraising profile page to help us meet our goal by visiting our profile and clicking “Become a Fundraiser”.
  3. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on our progress on Give OUT Day. You can use the hashtag #SPARKRJGIVING to follow our posts.
  4. Spread the word! Forward this email to your family, friends, and colleagues along with a personal note as to why YOU support our work and why they should give!

Make your donation TODAY and join SPARK in affirming that our bodies, our communities, and our futures matter!

Yours in community power,

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! Announces New Executive Director

Krystal RedmanThe Board of Directors of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! is excited to welcome Dr. Krystal Redman as its new Executive Director. Dr. Redman brings over 10 years of experience in managing low-income and women focused public health access and community-based youth development programs. Previously, Dr. Redman served as the Senior Project Director, Maternal and Child Health, at the Georgia Department of Public Health, where she worked on creating greater healthcare access for women throughout the state of Georgia. She has worked as a Program Director and Administrator for organizations serving low-income youth and as a Clinical Director for a community-based addiction prevention program. Dr. Redman received her Bachelors of Science in Sociology from University of California, Riverside and a Masters of Health Administration from University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She received her Doctor of Public Health from Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California.

As we tackle some of our toughest reproductive justice challenges, including fighting for Medicaid expansion and removing abortion restrictions, Dr. Redman brings needed new energy to SPARK. Her background and experience in statewide women-focused health programs, community-based youth program design and management, and broad based collaboration will ensure that SPARK achieves its expansion goals and increases its impact throughout Georgia.

Her response to this challenge is clear: “I will build on SPARK’s legacy of standing firmly as an organization that educates and organizes the most vulnerable communities in the state of Georgia and works to ensure access to reproductive healthcare for black women and queer and trans youth of color. We will also aggressively work with elected officials to vote against any legislation that undermines our communities’ access to safe and reliable medical services and reproductive healthcare options.”

Please join The Board of Directors in welcoming Dr. Krystal Redman to SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! and in wishing her the best as we move forward together in this journey. Her first day will be May 18th.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

Healthy Sex, Healthy Futures!

HSHF 2015 FlyerJoin Spark Reproductive Justice Now, in partnership with SisterLove, Inc and Georgia Equality as we expand the conversation on HIV prevention into a larger conversation around sexual health and reproductive justice to empower young folks to have honest conversations around their sexual health and wellness and build their AIDS Free Generation! This event is a part of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. Free HIV testing will be available.

When: April 8, 2015 – 5:30 to 8:00PM

Where: Phillip Rush Center – Annex, 1530 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

RSVP: Registration Form & Facebook

This event is open to young folks 16-25 and will center LGBTQQ young folks of color.