SPARK Trans Leadership Initiative

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW invites trans and non-binary people of color to join us in forming a Trans Leadership Initiative. This initiative will focus on creating community and social events specifically for and by trans PoC in the month of November. We encourage anyone interested to come – especially those looking to grow their organizing strengths and build a stronger trans community here in Atlanta.

Topics being discussed at this meeting include:
– Brainstorming ideas of programming to put on.
– Discussing what resources Atlanta trans folks need.
– Developing a framework for our November – Month of Programs.
& more.

ALL WHO ARE INTERESTED should fill out this form.

The meeting will start at 6PM at Hodgepodge Coffee (720 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316) on Thursday, July 27th. Parking is available and MARTA Bus #4 runs directly in front of the building.
Any questions? Email Taylor at taylor@sparkrj.org.

RSVP on Facebook & Eventbrite and share the event with your friends!

Application Deadline Extended

We are extending the application deadline for the 2017 FYRE Media Justice Camp to this Friday, July 14th. This year’s FYRE Camp, RHYTHM NATION, seeks to hold an intentional space for movement building for Queer and Trans young people of color and cishet Black women in the South to build trust through dance. We believe we can move through this political climate by asserting our bodily autonomy and embodying a positive body consciousness to find our own rhythm within the revolution.

Through this camp, SPARK aims to build a base of leaders who will re-imagine and create artistic narratives for our resilience, our lives, and our communities. The 2017 cohort will focus on issues surrounding abortion stigma, sexual health and health care access all with the goal of building a base of activists across multiple identities.

This year’s FMJC is scheduled to take place from July 20 to July 23rd in Atlanta, Georgia. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and all travel and boarding expenses are covered.

All those that are interested are invited to apply to attend as a camper or as a peer leader!

KICK IT WITH SPARK & SFQP!

From the flag, to the acronym, to anti-Blackness in the community, and more – there’s a lot to discuss within the community. What does proper representation look like? What does a non-corporate Pride look like? Why is anti-Blackness so unchecked?

Join Southern Fried Queer Pride and SPARK for Stonewall Sit-Down, a community discussion! On Thursday, Jun 29th at 6PM at the Little 5 Points Center for Arts & Community! Food and refreshments shall be served.

This event is specifically for those of the queer and trans/LGBTQIQAP2+ community.

RSVP via Facebook and share the event with your community!

FYRE MEDIA CAMP 2017: Now Accepting Applications!

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for our 2017 FYRE Media Justice Camp! This year’s FYRE Camp, RHYTHM NATION, seeks to hold an intentional space for movement building for Queer and Trans young people of color and cishet Black women in the South to build trust through dance. We believe we can move through this political climate by asserting our bodily autonomy and embodying a positive body consciousness to find our own rhythm within the revolution.

Click here to read more about previous FYRE Camps.

Through this camp, SPARK aims to build a base of leaders who will re-imagine and create artistic narratives for our resilience, our lives, and our communities. The 2017 cohort will focus on issues surrounding abortion stigma, sexual health and health care access all with the goal of building a base of activists across multiple identities.

This year’s FMJC is scheduled to take place from July 20 to July 23rd in Atlanta, Georgia. The application deadline is July 14, 2017All travel and boarding expenses are covered.

Click here to apply as a camper.

Click here to apply as a peer-leader.

 

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.

 

SPARK Trans Leadership Initiative

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! is putting out a call for transgender & non-binary identifying individuals of color seeking to enhance their leadership skills and develop trans-oriented programming as part of a new SPARK initiative!

Want to get involved?

Join us for an Interest Social on TUESDAY, JUNE 13th from 6-9pm at the Georgia Hill Neighborhood Center to learn more about the initiative. You can also email the program coordinator, Taylor Trimble (they/she) at Taylor@sparkrj.org for more information.

RSVP via Facebook, and Eventbrite, and share the event with your friends!

Kick it With SPARK!

In observance of mental health awareness month, SPARK invites you to join us for a self-care social on Saturday May 27th where we can share our mental health journeys with members of our communities over tasty treats and seasonal refreshments. We believe that one of the ways to combat mental health stigma is to create intentional spaces where members of our communities can freely express themselves and connect with others in the same situation.

Stay tuned for details on the location and share this event with your communities via Facebook.

Shut down the AHCA! #MyCoverageMatters

Atlanta, GA, Wednesday, May 10, 2017: The United States House Of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) last week, rushing it into a vote even before it could be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The AHCA is a culmination of Trump’s long-standing threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which had provided one of the largest expansions of health coverage in a generation and had most notably been successful at protecting people with pre-existing conditions from health coverage discrimination.

The bill now moves to the Senate where it will be reviewed by an all-male Health Care Working Group comprising 13 Republican party leaders, including Ted Cruz and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, in a move that has widely been criticized by both Senate Democrats and moderate conservatives.

SPARK has long worked towards medicaid expansion in Georgia and we firmly believe that the the proposed medicaid structure under the AHCA would further hinder the state’s flexibility to find innovative solutions to health disparities that face our communities. We publicly condemn this bill and call upon YOU to join us in letting our elected representatives know that the AHCA not only puts the health of millions of Americans at jeopardy but further endangers the lives of those most marginalized in society. With a list of pre-existing conditions that includes everything from pregnancy to domestic abuse and rape, the AHCA is clearly an ethically indefensible bill and does nothing to reduce premiums or expand coverage. In fact, the AHCA is slated to redirect over $600 billion in federal funds that have historically been used for coverage expansion to high-income households, effectively making it a tax-cut for the rich and not a healthcare bill for all Americans.

Activists across the nation have launched a campaign against the AHCA and SPARK urges you to add your voice to this grassroots movement to tell our elected representatives that we will not stand for this harmful bill.

TWEET YOUR THOUGHTS! Participate in our twitter chat on Tuesday 5/16 from 11:00am – 3:00pm by sharing your personal health access stories and thoughts on the already extensive list of pre-existing conditions that are not protected under the AHCA using the hashtags #MyCoverageMatters and #WeExistUnconditionally. Tag SPARK on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we will repost your comments throughout the chat.

SHOW UP! May is Mental Health Awareness Month and SPARK will be addressing the mental health issues in our communities and highlighting the resulting impacts on relationships, employment and overall health. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 24 million Americans will lose mental health coverage by 2026 under the AHCA. Studies repeatedly show a link between lack of mental health access and homelessness and it is these members of our communities that are most vulnerable to stigmatization, exploitation and brutal victimization. SPARK will be out in the field on Thursday 5/11 from 10:00am – 11:30am speaking with homeless people in our community to record their personal mental health stories. Want to join us? Email our volunteer coordinator, Taylor Trimble (she/they) at Taylor@sparkrj.org for more information.

For more information on SPARK and the AHCA contact:

Dr. Krystal Redman

Executive Director

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!

404-331-3250

Krystal@sparkrj.org

Mental Health Awareness Month

In observance of mental health awareness month, SPARK will be addressing the mental health issues in our communities and highlighting the connections between discrimination and stress, along with the resulting impacts on relationships, employment and overall health.

A wealth of psychological research shows that discrimination can exacerbate stress. Moreover, discrimination-related stress is linked to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, even in children. In a recent report on the state of Stress in America™, the American Psychological Association found that nearly seven in 10 adults (69 percent) in the U.S. report having experienced any discrimination, with 61 percent reporting experiencing day-to-day discrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, receiving poorer service than others, and being threatened or harassed. (Source)

Throughout the month of May, SPARK invites you to share your mental health experiences with us using the hashtag #LetItBeGlorious. We want to hear your personal stories of recovery, struggle, or hope. We believe that one of the ways to combat mental health stigma is to create intentional spaces where members of our communities can freely express themselves and connect with others in the same situation. Tag SPARK on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and add your voice to the conversation by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support.

RJ DAY FOR IMMIGRANTS

In observance of #RJDay4Immigrants, SPARK is joining All Above All along with our community partners across the nation to send a message to our elected representatives that immigrant rights are inseparable from reproductive justice as a cross-sectional liberation movement.

One of the ways we are pledging support to immigrant communities is by joining Asian Americans Advancing Justice in a public petition to Governor Nathan Deal asking that he veto House Bill 37 & House Bill 452 as we believe them to be harmful to our communities and a violation of the basic reproductive justice tenets that call for the liberation of all people regardless of race, gender or nationality.

We ask you to veto two pieces of anti-immigrant legislation passed in the 2017 Legislative Session: House Bill 37 and House Bill 452. These bills are clear attempts to target immigrant communities and will position Georgia as an unwelcoming state for business, travel, and future immigration.

As laid out in House Bill 37, private universities should not be targeted for providing opportunities to all students, regardless of immigration status. Withholding state and pass-through federal funding would only serve to penalize educators for doing their jobs and protecting their students. As of this bill’s passing, Emory University and others have already stated that they will not pursue sanctuary policies at this time. Additionally, this bill will violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by allowing university officials to disclose a student’s immigration status to law enforcement. This bill is frivolous, can violate federal student privacy laws, and only serves the purpose of intimidating immigrant communities. We respectfully ask you to veto House Bill 37.

Similarly, House Bill 452 raises a wide range of concerns. The bill creates serious privacy concerns by publicly posting personal information on the GBI website. In addition, the bill’s language is overly broad and can be used to target immigrants for minor criminal offenses. Lastly, we are concerned that it conflicts with federal terrorism and national security law.

You can sign on as individuals, as well as with your organizations, and we invite you to send it out to community members and groups!

Read the entire letter and find more information here: http://bit.ly/2oEsekf