Mama’s Day 2014 Round UP!

Mama's Day 2014 Post CardThis year, SPARK participated in the Strong Families Mama’s Day campaign by penning and contributing to a number of powerful articles and blogs on the experiences of Black women on issues from breastfeeding to healthcare access. Check out the following writings from SPARK staff and youth leaders for #MamasDay 2014!

SPARK Organizer Bianca Campbell talks Black Women, breastfeeding, and our maternity policy needs for The Root. http://bit.ly/RDc8Y2

On Ebony.com, SPARK Youth Leader Quita Tinsley reiterates the importance of the Strong Families #MamasDay campaign and her work with SPARK for Medicaid expansion and affordable health care in Georgia. http://bit.ly/1shHYVi

SPARK intern Leandra Lacy calls on us to “Give Affordable Healthcare This Mother’s Day” on the Strong Families Blog and shares what Medicaid expansion would mean for Black women. http://bit.ly/1fC0nMb

SPARK intern Alissa Robbins details our partnership with the Atlanta Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and our fight to expand Medicaid eligibility in Georgia and forever alter the healthcare destinies of the estimated 838,000 low-income uninsured women in our State. http://bit.ly/1gEPcO2

Mama-Activists of Georgia Fight for Medicaid Expansion

Mama's Day 2014 Post CardBy Alissa Robbins

As Georgia Governor Nathan Deal currently considers signing into law a measure that would place further barriers between hundreds of thousands of low-income Georgians and quality, competent healthcare, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is partnering with the Atlanta Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) this Mama’s Day to highlight the work of Mama-Activists in Georgia fighting to expand Medicaid eligibility and forever alter the healthcare destinies of the estimated 838,000 low-income uninsured women, 28.7% of whom are African-American, living in our state.

NDWA community organizing intern Zola Dadawele currently takes care of her 90-year old grandmother who is ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare under Georgia’s current eligibility requirements. Without health insurance, it is too costly to pay for the live-in nurse and the full-price prescriptions that her grandmother needs. So, the family must rely on the generosity of community support when Dadawele goes to work. Dadawele was prompted to join the fight for Medicaid expansion because she knew that she wasn’t alone in trying to provide for her loved ones.

“We don’t want to put her in a home, and we shouldn’t have to put her in a home,” she said.

According to Dadawele, there are NDWA members who qualify for Georgia’s strict Medicaid eligibility and are still unable to receive healthcare.

Leading up to the March 31st deadline, NDWA and SPARK hosted a clinic to sign people up for healthcare on the Federal Health Insurance Market Place on HealthCare.gov. The website told one NDWA member that she qualified for Medicaid and that local offices would be in touch with her. “That was two months ago,” Dadawele said and the member is now going without health coverage, paying out of pocket for expenses. Now that the deadline to receive coverage through healthcare.gov has expired, Dadawele said the member is uncertain of her options for care.

Mama-Activist Stephanie Barnett was able to successfully enroll in temporary Medicaid during her pregnancy, but still experienced barriers to her reproductive health care that could be resolved with Medicaid expansion.

Barnett wanted to begin using birth control after her pregnancy. She rushed to book an appointment with her doctor because her Medicaid coverage expired two months after birthing her child. At the visit, the doctor was unable to administer the requested IUD and would not be able to until after Barnett’s Medicaid expired. At $700, it was an expense she could not afford. “Money shouldn’t be a barrier to basic care,” says Barnett. She now fights to ensure that all families, regardless of income, have access to the contraceptives and reproductive health choices that they decide is best for them.

“That’s worth fighting for,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt [Georgia] to expand Medicaid.”

Evelyn Kummerow, an intern at NDWA working to recruit domestic workers to join the fight for Medicaid expansion, also joined the fight for healthcare after it impacted her personally. She did not know how she was going to cover her father’s medical bill of $50,000. He was visiting her from his home in Venezuela when he fell ill and had to be hospitalized for 15 days. Luckily, the tab was covered by the Venezuelan government and the family never received a bill. She compared that to her experience at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, GA where she was given a $700 bill for entering the emergency room even though she never received treatment.

“We have to change the model of care in this country,” she said. She wants to ensure that not only tourists, but everyone in the United States can always afford the care that they need.

Kummerow, Barnett, and Dadawele’s work with NDWA and SPARK have been invaluable. Together and along with partner organizations, they were able to collect 50,000 petition signatures to deliver to Governor Deal’s office, coordinate press conferences, sign people up for health insurance, and mobilize residents to lobby at the capitol.

All three women also said they are fighting to ensure that more mamas and their families receive the full promise of the Affordable Care Act. Below are some of the benefits that low-income women could receive this Mother’s Day if Governor Deal were to opt-in to expansion.

Pregnant parents who are insured now have more of the maternity care they need. Under the Affordable Care Act, about 8.7 million women will have guaranteed access to maternity care including breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.Insurance companies can no longer charge women a higher premium simply because of their gender. Insured women will have access to a large number of preventive services which will be completely covered by the insurance companies.

So, while we celebrate Mama’s today, let us also commit to supporting them year-round by providing healthcare. Join the fight for Medicaid expansion! Visit www.sparkrj.org and www.domesticworkers.org/atlanta to stay involved in their efforts.

Alissa Robbins is a 2014 intern at SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

This piece was originally posted on the Strong Families Blog as a part of the Mamas Day 2014 blog series.

Mother’s Day: The Resilience of Black Breast-Feeding

Originally posted at The Root. Written by SPARK Organizer Bianca Campbell.

Breastfeeding

Generic Image: Thinkstock

It was out of love, compassion and the promise of better opportunities that my mother fed me baby formula.

Being new to America and struggling to breast-feed so soon after her cesarean section, my mother made desperate phone calls to my grandmother back home in Jamaica for support. The international calling cards (remember, this was in the 1980s) would expire just when I went into a screaming fit. After two stressful weeks, though she initially wanted to stick to Jamaican traditions—including nursing—she switched to formula. American advertisements had promised her that she could avoid the pain and trials of nursing and buy her daughter the best nourishment the world could offer.

It’s a common story.

Read more Mother’s Day: The Resilience of Black Breast-Feeding

‘Mamas Day’ Celebrates Motherhood Outside the Boxes

Originally posted at Ebony. Written by Asha French with comments from SPARK Youth Leader Quita Tinsley.

Quita Tinsley

SPARK Youth Leader Quita Tinsley

[Building community through partnership is central to the mission of Strong Families, and SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is one of many partnering organizations. Quita Tinsley attended the RAD Youth Summit hosted by Strong Families in 2012, and her subsequent work for Medicaid expansion in Georgia and Affordable Care Youth Enrollment Day led to her involvement with Strong Families.

The Mamas Day campaign is important to Tinsley because of her investment in the rights of LGBTQ parents. “Second parent adoption and marriage policies that discriminate against same sex couples definitely need to change,” Tinsley said. “LGBTQ families should be able to legally choose our families in the same way that our heterosexual counterparts are allowed.” Tinsley’s activist work also focuses on legalizing other family planning choices. “I would like to see a change in anti-abortion laws that seek to close reproductive health clinics. As someone from rural Georgia, I know the importance of these clinics for folks to make educated decisions about their reproductive health.”

Like other members of Stong Families, Tinsley believes that Mamas Day is an important step toward making changes in public policies that affect underserved mamas. “Honoring Mamas puts their stories and their needs in the forefront. And this to me lets people know what they can do to create the change that is needed.”]

Read full article ‘Mamas Day’ Celebrates Motherhood Outside the Boxes

Give Affordable Healthcare This Mother’s Day

Leandra Lacy

Leandra Lacy, SPARK Spring ’14 Intern

By Leandra Lacy

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 as a part of the Mamas Day 2014 blog series.

Mamas in the South Continue the Fight for Reproductive Justice

By Bianca Campbell, Organizer, SPARK

Originally posted at Flyover Feminism

Mama's Day

A Lifetime of Care – Strong Families – Mama’s Day.Org

Too often public discourse on the reproductive and sexual rights issues of women living in the U.S. South, as well as the Global South, describes women as perpetual victims of their location and circumstances—especially Brown and Black women. In an effort to highlight the gross social and economic disparities, these narratives lose sight of the fierce feminist organizing happening in these regions. Even well-intentioned reproductive justice leaders can forgo balanced remarks by focusing on the injustices. This is simply detrimental to our movement.

Read more Mamas in the South Continue the Fight for Reproductive Justice

Mary Hooks joins SPARK to talk about family, being a new mother, and policies to support families year-round.

Mary Hooks and Porter

Mary Hooks and Porter
Photograph: Ingemar Smith

For Mary Hooks, raising her daughter and changing the world is all in a day’s work! She is an organizer for Southerners on New Ground (SONG) — an organization that engages in grassroots efforts with queer people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class, rural and small town communities, and their allies throughout the South to make sustainable social change. Her 5-month old daughter, Porter, joins her on the road connecting with people who are redefining the region for vulnerable communities. At home, Mary proudly shares space with an amazing group of friends that infuse service to their neighborhood as a daily practice. In fact, they will hand out gifts to women living in the West End community of Atlanta, GA this Sunday for Mother’s Day.

We thank her for opening her heart and home for our Strong Families Mama’s Day interview!  We asked this movement leader about family, motherhood and about policies that support families year-round.

SPARK: To start, who makes up your family and what does family mean to you?
Mary: Porter, co-parent Brian, my sisters, immediate and extended family members, play cousins, my SONG family, and my roommates — or as I say my partnas! Everyone who shares space with us is family to me.

SPARK: Can you say more about seeing community as family?
Mary: It’s about being able to connect with people who don’t live in your home. We have a shared identity or experience and we come together and share a loving space. We hang out, we create, and support each other. We engage each other. We look out for each other. We create a bloodline.

Porter has so much to learn, but I do not feel responsible for teaching her everything. I embrace my community as family, my partnas as family — and that is nothing new. It’s going back to the ways we have always done it: as a village.

SPARK: So what has been your favorite moment as a mother so far?
Mary: One is when I actually labored for two days in my house. As a mom in that position, I was obviously very uncomfortable, to put it lightly — but I realized it was a shared experience. Folks were at the house camping out with me. My Aunt Lorraine was hooking up a fish fry at 2:00 AM! I had so much support! And in that moment, I realized that this is how raising my child was going to be. I just felt so held. It was amazing.

The second moment is after I bathe her and I get her all smelling good. I hold her, put on our soundtrack of The Colored Purple vinyl, and I hum her to sleep. I loved this movie as a child and the story has been such a huge part of my development. It’s a gift to share those moments with her.

SPARK: What tips do you have for mothers?
Mary: One tip I received was from Kate Shapps, my fierce comrade, about having your sacred no. Letting no be sacred so when I finally say yes to something, I can give my best. I am not going to spread myself so thin that I don’t produce good work for my commitments. This is something I am being more intentional about doing.

Another tip, you only asked for one, but just in case — a tip that Paris Hatcher (former Executive Director of SPARK) and Shannon Miller (Founder of All My Children Project) told me is to mother myself. What does it mean as a mother to love on, to dote on, and to pour into yourself — to resist this idea that you have to be a martyr for your child? It is not healthy in the long-term, and Porter doesn’t get my best self. I don’t come from a background where I was mothered in the traditional sense. I got mothered in pieces by several phenomenal women. So now, I’m piecing everything they taught together in order to learn how to mother Porter and me. So far so good! She hasn’t run away!

SPARK: What is something the larger movement could be doing?
Mary: Be mindful of the little treasures in the movement. SONG has been so accommodating for Porter. I can bring her to the office and on trips. They take care of her as if she was a staff member on the payroll, and I totally appreciate that. Do the “work” in a way that doesn’t exclude families, or discourages people to have families. Folks shouldn’t have to leave the movement in order to have a life that can accommodate raising a child. Thank you to my SONG family and other organizations that are modeling how this can be done.

SPARK: What is a policy change that would help you as a parent year-round?
Mary: Ah, a policy change… Overall, I think people should be able to reproduce, and to set up agreements and boundaries with no connection to the government. It bothers me that my friends who are same-gender loving want kids but can’t because there are so many systemic barriers that deny them from creating the families they want.  We should be able to decide how and with whom we make our families.

SPARK:  Finally, expanding access to home birth choices is another policy issue that could be very empowering for people—yet, it is highly debated in Georgia.
Mary: I was going to break the rules, but after laboring for 2 days, I wasn’t dilating. The midwife made a judgment call, and I wound up birthing Porter at the hospital. However, our choice in the way we desire to bring about life is a sacred one and whether people decided to have babies in or outside of the medical industrial complex, is their right to do so.  We have been doing this by ourselves for years.

SPARK: Any last words?
Mary: This is the best thing and the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. Really, I get the honor? The universe chose me to raise another human being—or to be the facilitator of her being raised? That’s amazing, I’m grateful for the village that is helping to make her livelihood possible!

***

We honor Mary’s work at SONG, which is a “home to LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, ability, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South.”  Become a member today!

Mary’s words bring to mind the importance of reproductive justice. Reproductive justice includes the right to define and plan your family with the ability to support them. To do that, we must promote progressive policies that affirm sexuality, gender, and access to abortion and contraception. Join SPARK as we fight for these rights on Mama’s Day and every day for our Strong Families!

Tracee McDaniel sits down with SPARK to share her incredible journey, activism, wisdom for families, and newly published book.

Tracee McDaniel

Tracee McDaniel
Photograph: Ingemar Smith

Raised in South Carolina, Tracee McDaniel left the South seeking community as a transsexual woman to return years later more in love with her family and southern roots. The founder of Juxtaposed Center for Transformation Incorporated, an Atlanta based advocacy, consulting, and social services referral organization working to improve the quality of life for all Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming community members, Tracee shares her incredible journey, activism, wisdom for families, and newly published book Transitions: Memoirs of a Transsexual Woman with SPARK during our Mama’s Day celebration with Strong Families!

SPARK: What is family to you?
Tracee: Family to me is unconditional love, accepting our flaws and all. As a family, sometimes we disagree, however, we know that we love each other. A family is constantly working out the issues, and hopefully, there aren’t very many. Family is a support system for when I am tired and frustrated — I can talk to them.

I was born and raised in South Carolina and my immediate family still lives there. My spouse and I met in California but have lived in Georgia for ten years. I wanted to move closer to home because my mother is getting older, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the airport and all that other drama. I just wanted to be able to get into a car and drive to see her. So, we decided that Georgia would be the place.

SPARK: You seem to have a close relationship with your mom?
Tracee: Yes, definitely. We have had our issues, especially growing up as a trans woman. Now, it’s a totally different story. We just had a conversation about the book I recently published. She felt guilty about some things, and I told her — it is from a child’s perspective. I view things differently. And to be quite honest, if it wasn’t for my mother’s strict ways, I probably would not be alive right now.

SPARK: Navigating family issues is a balancing act that a lot of queer and Trans people encounter. Could you share more?
Tracee: Well, sometimes you just have to separate yourself, which is what I did. When I was old enough to be out of South Carolina, I was out of South Carolina. So sometimes you have to put some distance and space. Eventually, and hopefully, it will get better. If I didn’t put the space and miles between us, I don’t think we would have had the relationship we have now. And sometimes it’s okay to say, “This is all I can handle now. Maybe later things will go differently and we will both be open and willing.” But it has to be on both parts. People mature as time goes by.

SPARK: Could you tell us about your book?
Tracee: It’s entitled Transitions: Memoirs of a Transsexual Woman. It’s essentially the story of my life in South Carolina, the dynamics of my family unit, and the challenges that I faced growing up transgender — before I knew what transgender and gender non-conforming were. I wanted to tell my story in my own words — express my feelings about certain things and to heal from them. The process was very cathartic and healing for me because I got a chance to address some challenges and issues I faced growing up, and I am so happy I have a mother who supports that.

SPARK: It’s amazing, yet, unfortunately rare for many queer and Trans people to reconnect with their family after leaving.
Tracee: Oh my gosh! I consider myself blessed. And that’s what I told my mother. I just sent her a copy of my book and she was concerned about some of the feelings I expressed — and I wanted her to know, that although I felt that way as a child, I don’t feel that way now. I know she did the best she could with what she had. And although we had our challenges growing up, you better believe that there is no one in my family who would disrespect me in her presence.

Now, my spouse and I go home for holidays and stay at my family’s home. I love sitting out by the fire and having one on one conversations with my mother.

SPARK:  You mentioned that writing the book was cathartic. Please share other ways that you center yourself and take care?
Tracee: I don’t start my day without meditation and prayer. I feel that it is very important to be centered and to have a spiritual foundation. I started visiting the Yogananda fellowship at the garden in the Palisades, California, and from there, I just started realizing the positive aspects of meditation. I dealt with challenges within and stopped looking to others to solve those challenges for me.

SPARK:  What are some of the issues you work on and policies you feel need to change?
Tracee: I am currently working with other community activists to prevent a banishment of sex workers in Atlanta, GA. This city ordinance is an attack on low-income people, communities of color, and trans women of color especially. We are researching what other cities are doing that empowers these communities instead of cutting them out of vital resources located in the city boundaries such as HIV testing, homeless shelters, access to their children and family, etc.

In addition to blocking the ban, we need to end employment discrimination. Transgender job applicants repeatedly tell me that once their gender identity is discussed, they have been shut out of employment.  This leads to a lot of the street-level sex work that keeps many queer and trans people fed: It’s about survival.  Finally, I’d like to see protections for trans women in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

***

SPARK thanks Tracee McDaniel for her dedication to uplifting our communities and sharing with us her path to healing, happiness, and love for her mother! During this Mama’s Day, Tracee reminds us the best gift we can give is compassion. “We’re all human beings — even mothers. Mothers aren’t perfect. They do the best they can with the knowledge that they have. It’s a blessing to have a relationship with your mother — so whatever is going on try and have a close relationship with your parents and to not give up.”

Transitions: Memoirs of a Transsexual Woman can be found at  thejct.org, Createspace.com, Amazon.com and Kindle

SPARK interviews Marilynn Winn about family, tips for mothers, and how our society can support mothers and families beyond Mama’s Day.

Marilynn Winn

Marilynn Winn
Photograph: Ingemar Smith

We begin our Strong Families Mama’s Day campaign by honoring Marilynn Winn. Ms. Winn is the extraordinary strategist behind Atlanta 9to5’s Ban the Box campaign that ensures employment opportunities for Georgia’s formerly incarcerated family members. She is also starting a new organization called Women on the Rise led by women impacted by incarceration both in and outside of prison.

We celebrate Winn’s wisdom and loving energy with an intimate sit-down interview where we discuss family, tips for mothers, and how our society can support mothers and families beyond the holiday.

SPARK: How do you define family and who is in yours?
MW: Right now, my family is my mother, my daughter, my son and my 6 grandkids.

When I think of how a family should be, the way I would love for it to be, I think of my grandma’s family. She had 14 kids and they all stayed in the same house. They all used that one bathroom and ate at that one table.

I visited for months at a time in Tuskegee, Alabama. My grandmother worked at a fish market, but she couldn’t afford the fish. She bought the red snapper fish heads and made a stew with grits and pork & beans. I used to turn my nose up at her dishes, but I learned to enjoy what my grandma supplied for us.

I really enjoyed those days because I knew my grandmother, aunts, uncles loved me. Genuine connections with my family and friends are the most important to me.

SPARK: What keeps you smiling as a mother in the movement and what do you need from the movement?
MW: I believe one day we will make a difference in so many Black people’s lives. They will be able to apply for a job, to get housing, to get benefits, to start our own jobs. Some people who have records can’t even get a professional license for certain entrepreneurial jobs—in other words, we can’t even hire ourselves!

And I smile because I am a formerly incarcerated person and mother starting this campaign with other mothers, other families impacted by incarceration. I have served my time, so you can’t hold it over my head! I just feel unstoppable. I just need more formerly incarcerated people to feel that way.

200 people return to Atlanta alone from prison every month. If I can get those people to feel like there is hope, we can do so much! When they can see a room of other formerly incarcerated people who are working, making moves—they will say, “I want to be a part of this.” So, that’s what I am hoping for and that’s what keeps me going.

SPARK: How can Ban The Box help people have the families they want?
MW: It will stop recidivism, meaning families stay together longer. Children will also have parents who can supply their immediate needs, and I think every family deserves financial stability. http://9to5.org/blog-post-winning-the-battle-to-ban-the-box/

SPARK: What tips do you have for mothers or anyone leading a family?
MW: I felt guilty as a mother for being formerly incarcerated. There were times I should have put my foot down with my children, but I felt like I owed them something because I had been away. Now, I love myself enough to say “no” when I have to, to say I deserve dignity. I didn’t leave you by choice. I did what I had to do to take care of you. So my tip is to remember that you are always a mom.

Also, I wish that all mothers who don’t feel love, feel love by loving themselves first. Once you love yourself, you are able to receive love. Every day, learn to love you.

***

We end this interview with a quote from Winn reminding us that we must remain resilient and that change is always possible. “I used to say that my bad times outweighed my good times. Now, I can say my good times outweigh my bad times. I could have been in prison. I could have been dead. I could have been a lot of things, but at 62, I am still here, I am happy, and I am making a difference here in Atlanta.”

This year, consider supporting Atlanta 9to5’s Ban the Box campaign striving to put formerly incarcerated mothers and all people back in the workforce. Financial stability and emotional dignity are two gifts few would turn down this Mama’s Day. SPARK works to bridge the intersections between economic justice, reproductive justice and mass incarceration. Let women know that you support our autonomy and respect our leadership by donating to SPARK.

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