Justice Doesn’t Trickle Down

A class-only approach is not only wrong; it is also wrong-headed. We need a woman-focused economic agenda that is intersectional, broad, and deep. SPARK Executive Director, Dr. Krystal Redman, outlined how to do this in a newly-released paper with Ms. Foundation For Women.

The report was also the subject of a Salon article where Dr. Redman is quoted in reference to the gendered and racialized disparities and inequities that have come to characterize the U.S. health system:

Krystal Redman, whose work with SPARK Reproductive Justice Now is highlighted in the report, agreed. “Accessibility to coverage is important,” Redman explained over the phone, noting that racial and gendered barriers to care don’t “solely go away just because someone has coverage.”

 

“There are many providers who have their own ideas of how a patient should be treated based on how they present,” Dr. Redman said.

 

As an example, Redman argued that a black woman with four children who goes to the gynecologist is more likely to be pushed into a long-acting form of contraception than a similarly situated white woman, who is more likely to have a chance to engage in dialogue with a doctor about whether she wants any more children.

 

Another huge example of the limits of an economics-only framework is the way that law enforcement treats white people differently than black and brown people. Just this week, Redman said, she had personal experience with that. Her husband, “a dark-skinned black man, tall, dreads, everything like that,” was pulled over “because the cop said he was following too closely behind another vehicle,” she claimed.

 

“We can’t overcome those small heart-flashes of, ‘Oh God, am I going to be safe?’” when things like that happen, she said, and that’s why “we need to center race” in the progressive movement.

 

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.

Last Chance to Dig Deep for Reproductive Justice in 2015!

Update 12/31/2015

Tonight marks the end of 2015 and our end of the year giving campaign. As we count down to the New Year, we ask that you dig deep and give big to ignite reproductive justice in the South!


 

Thanks to you, SPARK’s work to build and sustain a powerful reproductive Justice movement in Georgia and throughout the South is stronger than ever.Through your tax-deductible gifts to SPARK, you help us to build new leadership, change culture, and advance knowledge to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives.

As we look to 2016, we need your support to ensure this critical work. Help SPARK change in the South. Make your gift today!

In 2016, your end of the year donation will fund:

  • Speak Justice Take Action – We will continue the important work of making the legislative process accessible to our communities utilizing our signature queer political frame. We will host our 9th Annual LegislateTHIS!, advocating to close the coverage gap and empower our community leaders to share their stories and lobby our elected officials at the Georgia State Capitol on key reproductive justice issues. Click here to hear from participants at our 8th Annual LegislateTHIS!
  • Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering – As we close out the year having hosted our 5th FYRE Media Justice Camp, we will continue providing Queer and Trans youth of color with the skills and resources to generate their own media and strengthen their communities through peer support and leadership development using reproductive justice and queer liberation. Look out for the return of Kick It with SPARK in January 2016!
  • SPARK Organizing Intensive – In 2016, we will kick off the 2nd cohort of our Queer and Trans youth of color and Women of Color reproductive justice, issue advocacy, grassroots organizing, community mobilization, and strategic communications training to foster the potential and leadership within our movements.

This important work would not be possible without your continued support! You help us to empower Black Women, Queer & Trans youth of color, and Women of Color to critique media, strengthen their leadership and political power, and fight for reproductive justice in the South.

Make your end of the year tax-deductible donation now and join us in our call to SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW for our bodies, our communities, and our futures!

Dr. Krystal Redman
Executive Director


SPARK A Change Group Photo

Thanks to you and our sponsors, SPARK A Change was an amazing success and a beautiful time! Check out the images from the evening captured by Mike EdenCandra Umunna, and The Steele Frame.

Couldn’t join us? It’s not too late to make your end of the year gift!

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!

Women of Color Amplify Their Voices in the 2014 Midterm Elections!

Metropolitan areas across Georgia made impressive strides in progressive voter engagement and turnout; Georgia is headed in the right direction.

SPARK Canvassing TeamA heartfelt thanks to the staff of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW and our enthusiastic canvassing team for your dedication and diligence to our integrated voter engagement work for the 2014 midterm elections.

Progressive voters in Atlanta, the State of Georgia, and across the nation may have lost important Gubernatorial and US Senate races, but we won locally and on the issues!

Latin, African American, and Asian women are an increasingly large voting block within Georgia and the United States. Nationally, women tended to vote for progressive candidates this election cycle. Further, a majority of voters in metropolitan cities and counties across Georgia demonstrated support for progressive policies. Progressive lawmakers were able to maintain majority control of important local seats as demonstrated by the results of the Fulton County Commission race.

Initial data also shows that women of color were particularly supportive of social issues, including reproductive justice and LGBTQI rights this election cycle. Issues like minimum wage and paid leave were won in several states, while personhood was soundly defeated in others. Women of color understand and experience the intersectionality between poverty, race, gender, and access to health care – and brilliantly bring this framework to the polls.

While there is still much work to be done, be encouraged. Georgia is headed in the right direction.

Ms. Benètta M. Standly, MPA
Interim Executive Director
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

Thank You For Standing With SPARK in 2013!

Greetings Community,

As 2013 comes to a close, on behalf of the Board and Staff of SPARK, I want to thank you for recognizing the importance of investing in our work.

Your unwavering support empowers SPARK to ensure the voices of women of color, LGBTQQ youth, and young families are ever present at key decision making tables, fighting for healthcare and our rights to create family in the ways we see fit.

Let me share with you our accomplishments in 2013:

  • SPARK announced new Executive Director Malika Redmond, M.A. in March. Malika Redmond is a Black feminist researcher, writer, and human rights advocate bringing 15 years of leadership experience both nationally and internationally. Full bio available at www.sparkrj.org.

  • The Mama’s Day and Papa’s Day campaigns were e-campaigns highlighting local African-American mothers and fathers whose work and philosophy embrace a reproductive justice framework. SPARK wrote a total of 6 interviews and two blogs shared nationally through both social media, receiving over 3000 Facebook hits, and posts on 4 different blog sites.

  • SPARK launched a monthly Twitter conversation series on sexual health, reproductive justice, and popular culture. Thus far, we have partnered with over 15 organizations and 30 independent twitter followers logging in to take part in our online conversation. This initiative has bolstered SPARK’s twitter following by 39%, growing our following from 668 to 934 followers in just 6 months.

  • This summer SPARK partnered with StoryCorps and Atlanta, GA, community radio station WRFG 89.3FM for our 3rd annual FYRE Media Justice Camp. We provided scholarships to 7 LGBTQQ youth of color student leaders from the south including Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia for 4 days and 3 nights to learn about reproductive justice and radio broadcasting in order to create their own online multi-segment podcast series on current reproductive and racial justice issues. Youth had dinner and conversations with nationally recognized feminists of color scholars and activists Dázon Dixon Diallo, MPH, CEO of SisterLove, Inc., and Crunk Feminist Collective bloggers Susana Morris, PhD and Eesha Pandit, M.A. on how to effectively use multimedia to share their work. Click here to check out the first segment of the series!

  • Executive Director Malika Redmond along with the National Domestic Workers Alliance–Atlanta Chapter held a press conference to launch a grassroots campaign for Medicaid expansion (outlined in the historic Affordable Care Act) in Georgia at the State Capitol this fall. Along with the press conference, 50 people gathered at the Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger for our 1st town hall meeting and 2 talks were held for students at Georgia State University on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.

  • In the fall, the Arcus Foundation announced Executive Director Malika Redmond among 10 emerging leaders to participate in their 1st executive leadership training program furnished with one-on-one coaching with a top level executive, retreat, management tools, and one year grant.

  • SPARK ushered in the holiday season with our end-of-the year fundraiser and first ever the “Winter Flame” bringing together supporters, from across the country to Atlanta, GA, to celebrate reproductive justice in the south. The event garnered support from Atlanta city Councilman Kwanza Hall, the Old Fourth Ward Restaurants and Neighborhood Associations, Janke Glass Studio, and countless others. It was highlighted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Creative Loafing’s “Top 5″ events in Atlanta. Check out the night’s highlights!

Remember, there is still time to give your 2013 gift by hitting the “Donate” button. You can deepen your impact by joining SPARK as a monthly sustainer giving automatic, recurring donations for as little as $10 a month!

SPARK is looking toward the future as we continue to develop youth leadership, move into new office space, gear up to engage in important reproductive justice fight, and launch a voter empowerment campaign in 2014.

Thanks again for welcoming me to SPARK and always standing with us.

Happy Holidays,

Malika A. Redmond, M.A.
Executive Director

Click here to check out the night’s highlights at the “Winter Flame”!

Click here to check out the night’s highlights at the “Winter Flame”!

“Healthcare for All” Campaign Launches, Domestic Workers Urge State to Expand Healthcare Coverage for 650,000 Georgians

Greetings Community!

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is honored to stand with the National Domestic Workers Alliance – Atlanta Chapter as members of the Cover Georgia coalition to demand Healthcare For All Georgians! Join us at the State Capitol and follow us on twitter @SPARKRJNOW this Thursday, September 5th at 5:00 PM as we call on Governor Deal to ensure the full promise of the Affordable Care Act by expanding Medicaid in Georgia!

Expanding Medicaid will allow an estimated 650,000 people living in Georgia to have healthcare! SPARK recognizes that women, queer young adults, and young parents of color are among those disproportionately impacted by the lack of culturally competent high quality affordable healthcare that supports empowered family planning, sexual health, and reproductive health decisions.

All Georgians deserve to have insurance coverage for the medical care that they need!

My best to you,

Malika A. Redmond, MA
Executive Director

NDWA Rally Sponsor Orgs

Read the full Media Advisory

This Papa’s Day, We Celebrate the Rich Legacy of Black Fathers Who Support Women’s Rights!

Greetings Community,

Ingemar and Kumani

SPARK honors devoted father, astute community organizer, and proud SPARK Board Member Ingemar Smith for Papa’s Day!

Today, we watched President Obama remark on the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act and saluting women like the late Dr. Dorothy Height for raising awareness of fair wages for women. Official statements of solidarity for women’s rights are a continuous theme of the Obama presidency beginning with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This week, SPARK will celebrate the rich legacy of Black fathers who support women’s rights — especially reproductive justice — through our Papa’s Day e-campaign in partnership with Strong Families.Look forward to reading statements of solidarity from Black men supporting Black women’s reproductive freedom, a timely article honoring the path blazed by Black feminist forefathers, and, what looks to be a lively discussion, a twitter chat on representations of Black fatherhood in the media.Like Mama’s Day, SPARK and Strong Families will enrich the social media world with words of wisdom from our communities, share important policy initiatives that disproportionately impact our families, and release beautiful e-cards with images of our diverse families that you can send to your Papa in time for Father’s Day!

Join us on twitter @sparkrjnow, like us on Facebook, and go to our website www.sparkrj.org to participate in our Papa’s Day campaign activities and learn more about Strong Families and SPARK!

My best to you,

Malika A. Redmond, M.A.
Executive Director

This Mama’s Day, We Celebrate and Honor the Resilience of Southern Black Motherhood

Hello Community,

I am thrilled to write to you and announce SPARK’s Mama’s Day e-campaign in partnership with Strong Families! Strong Families is a national initiative raising the social justice issues facing families of color living in the U.S. This is the second year of the campaign that includes beautiful e-cards that celebrate Mamas with images and justice messages that reflect the diversity of our dynamic families.

SPARK Mama's Day Illustration

This Mama’s Day, We Celebrate and Honor the Resilience of Southern Black Motherhood

SPARK’s southern twist to the e-campaign is in full swing featuring interviews, an op-ed, and images honoring Black women living in Georgia. Starting today, you will meet Tracee McDaniel, Marilynn Winn, and Mary Hooks—three spectacular Georgia women shaking it up in our community! These activists, mothers, and daughters have words of encouragement for advocates and policy leaders working toward justice and bodily autonomy for our families in this society.

Finally, as I embark on the role of Executive Director of SPARK, I look forward to building upon the decades of fierce feminist leadership paving the way for reproductive justice in Georgia. I thank you, our community partners, for continuing to be the fuel behind our flame! Your support sustains this ambitious organization’s transformative and nationally recognized reproductive justice advocacy efforts for women and queer youth of color living in Georgia and throughout the South!

Remember to like us on Facebook (sparkrjnow), follow us on twitter (@sparkrjnow), and contribute: http://www.sparkrj.org/donate/.

My best to you,

Malika A. Redmond
Executive Director