What Does RJ Mean To You?

The SPARK Organizing Intensive (SOI) engages an intergenerational cohort of reproductive justice and sexual health advocates through collaborative intensive political skill development for comprehensive and sound reproductive justice policies in the Southeast.

As a lead up to Legislate This!, the SOI is geared towards supporting and empowering people of color, while centering the experiences of Black Women and queer & trans youth of color. The training is an opportunity for both new and experienced organizers and activists to dig deep on pressing issues that affect our communities across identities, gain concrete organizing and campaign building skills, and directly organize and support community events and projects throughout 2017.

This year, the training was held at the Troy Moore Library at GSU and we were joined by Devin Barrington-Ward, a long-time supporter and lobbyist for SPARK as well as Sable Nelson, Esq., the Policy and Advocacy Program Manager at SisterLove, Inc.

SPARK thanks you all for your attendance and encourages you all to make your voices heard as advocates and allies in the fight for reproductive justice.

Tweet us or tag us on Instagram and Facebook and tell us what RJ means to you!

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES HEARING: MODERNIZING GEORGIA’S HIV LAWS

Join us this afternoon, for a Health & Human Services Committee hearing on HB454, a bill originated by SPARK to curb harmful HIV laws TODAY, Tuesday, FEB. 28, at 2:00PM at the State Capitol in room 606 of Paul Coverdell Legislative Office Building.

The bill will be introduced by House Representative Park Cannon and follows a prior hearing SPARK hosted in conjunction with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus earlier this month.

Black Trans History

We’re winding down another spectacular Black History Month with a salute to a revolutionary figure in the trans liberation movement, Carlett A. Brown. Hers is an extraordinary story that speaks to the health inequity that still plagues our communities today and the immeasurable strength it takes to affirm our existence.

Carlett Brown appeared on the cover of JET, the only remaining public record of her journey, and is featured in a number of articles in the magazine during the time she was seeking medical attention.

According to a feature in JET magazine (t/w) that was published on June 18 1953, Carlett, who had been coercively assigned male at birth, joined the Navy in her 20s hoping to receive medical attention for what was later determined to be menstrual bleeding. Due to the stigma surrounding intersex bodies, doctors misdiagnosed her with a mental illness that they claimed was caused by what was described as the “abnormal existence of female glands” in her reproductive system and advised that she undergo surgery to remove these glands.

Carlett rejected this ignorant dismissal and decided instead to seek gender affirmation surgery in Europe after which she could legally marry the man she loved. This would require she renounce her American citizenship and travel to Europe where her contemporary, Christine Jorgensen, had her surgery done and subsequently made headlines with her own transition.

Christine Jorgensen headlines

Just months before she could leave the US though, Carlett was arrested for cross-dressing, followed by an order to pay back tax money she owed the government to the tune of $1200 which forced her to take odd jobs, first as a “shake-dancer” and then as a cook at an Iowa State frat house, to pay off the debt. Subsequent reports (t/w) show that Carlett had made contact with a European surgeon but soon fell back into anonymity and does not appear in any further news stories beyond this point.

Carlett’s struggle is all too common and we will not let her legacy go uncelebrated so we’re inviting all you history buffs out there to reach out to us with any more information you can find on our very own #HiddenFigure.

 

Meet Our Keynote Speaker, Jennifer Barnes!

LegislateTHIS! is our annual statewide day of action and advocacy where you can expect to hear from key leaders about pertinent public policy issues and educate our policymakers at the GA Capitol about the reproductive justice agenda.

We are just a mere hours away from the 10th Annual LegislateTHIS! taking place tomorrow, THURSDAY FEB 23, from 9:00am – 2:00pm, at Trinity United Methodist Church, and are doubly honored to have Jennifer Barnes as the Keynote Speaker who, among many things, recently delivered an unflinching indictment on the state’s negligent housing practices at SPARK’s hearing with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus on the HIV epidemic in Georgia.

For the 2017 legislative session, SPARK invokes Kimberlee Crenshaw’s work on #Intersectionality, and calls on YOU to carry on in the tradition of grassroots community leaders, like Jennifer, who believe that we can speak truth to power and hold our elected representatives accountable through the collective power of #ReproductiveJustice.

Register for the 10th Annual Legislate THIS! today.

Thank You!

SOI 2017 is a wrap!

SPARK Organizing Intensive (SOI) February 19, 2017 at the Troy Moore Library at Georgia State University

Posted by Spark Reproductive Justice Now on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

 

The SPARK Organizing Intensive (SOI) engages an intergenerational cohort of reproductive justice and sexual health advocates through collaborative intensive political skill development for comprehensive and sound reproductive justice policies in the Southeast. As a lead up to Legislate This!, the SOI is geared towards supporting and empowering people of color, while centering the experiences of Black Women and queer & trans youth of color. The training is an opportunity for both new and experienced organizers and activists to dig deep on pressing issues that affect our communities across identities, gain concrete organizing and campaign building skills, and directly organize and support community events and projects throughout 2017.

This year, the training was held at the Troy Moore Library at GSU and we were joined by Devin Barrington-Ward, a long-time supporter and lobbyist for SPARK as well as Sable Nelson, Esq., the Policy and Advocacy Program Manager at SisterLove, Inc.

SPARK thanks you all for your attendance and encourage you all to make your voices heard as advocated and allies in the fight for reproductive justice!

Resist Trump & Kill The Gag!

Trump’s global gag rule is a grotesque expansion of a failed, deadly policy that prohibits foreign organizations that receive U.S. global health assistance from providing or even discussing abortions with patients. This rule now threatens access to safe abortion and other basic health care for millions of people around the world.

We know that this egregious attack on the health and lives of women and other people who depend on U.S.-funded health programs for their care is just the first of many attempts the Trump Administration will make to strip away our sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Fight back and say NO to the global gag rule, NO to abortion bans. Not now, not ever!

Commemorate International Women’s Day and the day of the Women’s Strike on Wednesday, MARCH 8, with our national partners by marching to the White House to protest the Global Gag Rule.

11:00am: Gather in Freedom Plaza
11:30am: March to the White House
12pm: Protest in Lafayette Park

Questions? Email mcanu@genderhealth.org.

Interested in getting involved outside the D.C. area? Join the movement on Twitter using the hashtags #TrumpGlobalGag and #NoAbortionBan.

Steering committee members include Advocates for Youth, Catholics for Choice, CHANGE, Feminist Majority Foundation, In Our Own Voice, National LGBTQ Task Force, and NAPAWF.

Any attack on abortion rights is an attack on all of us.

A message from our lobbyist, Devin Barrington-Ward

Did you know that pregnant women serving time in correctional facilities in states like Georgia are shackled and handcuffed while they give birth to their child?

Check out this letter I co-wrote with Dr. Krystal Redman, Executive Director of Spark Reproductive Justice Now to members of the Georgia General Assembly about this horrible practice!

This practice continues in Georgia despite the fact that doctors and criminologist alike have labeled the practice both unnecessary and unsafe for mother and child, especially consider the fact that there has never been a reported case of a pregnant women escaping custody during labor.

Spark and I believe that we must dismantle the prison industrial complex to truly save Black women, however we realize that Georgia has recently been on a path of making significant reforms to the criminal justice and prison system in Georgia, however if these reforms do not ban shackling pregnant women during labor then these reforms are illegitimate because they do not center the experiences of Black women who make up the bulk of Georgia’s female prison population.

Please call State Representative Alan Powell, Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security at 404-463-3793 and demand that a hearing be held on this important legislation!

 

– Devin Barrington-Ward, SPARK Lobbyist.

 

Join us at The 10th Annual LegislateTHIS! on Thursday, FEB 23, to learn more about Georgia’s shackling laws and other pressing policy issues that affect our communities.

Register NOW! http://bit.ly/2kHYdD2

Queer South Rise UP!

There’s less than 24 hours left to register for SONG’s Queer South Revival happening in Highlands, NC, from March 3-5.

What can you expect?

In March, we’re bringing together 100 members who want to turn up with SONG both locally and regionally. Whether you are a new SONG member or Forever SONG family, if you want to move strategies, organizing, culture, and action in lockstep with the SONG formation then this is the membership gathering for you. Together we’ll imagine and enact on possibilities and plans to protect and defend our communities and to build sanctuary for southern towns and cities so we can live free from fear.

 Head on over to www.southernersonnewground.org to learn more.