SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW Affirms the Agency of Black Lives on the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW celebrates the spirit of this victory, even in the face of federal and state-based attacks to restrict women’s access to abortion care.

As an organization that works to improve access to reproductive healthcare for Black women and queer and trans youth of color, Roe has helped to affirm the bodily autonomy of women in our communities. Black women are three times more likely than white women to have an unintended pregnancy, four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, and are more likely to raise their children in poverty. Access to abortion remains vital to the lives of Black women and families to protect our health and well-being.

“SPARK’s commitment to ensuring that Black women have access to the resources they need to lead self-determined lives extends to all forms of healthcare – including abortion,” says SPARK board member Tonya Williams. “We will continue to fight so that Black women can make liberatory decisions about our bodies, our health, and our lives.”

On this day, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the protections assured by the Roe v. Wade decision.  We stand with those who are fighting back attempts to corrode those protections. And we celebrate the victories we have won, and those to come.

One Contribution, TWICE the Impact. Give to SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW Today!

Give Today!

Dear Friends,

As SPARK looks to 2015, we need your support to continue to build and sustain a reproductive justice (RJ) movement in the Deep South. SPARK’s work is critical in developing Southern based RJ leaders from marginalized communities to advocate for policies and practices that empower young families throughout Georgia to lead on key reproductive rights and health issues and foster sustainable change. Importantly, SPARK amplifies the voices of queer and trans youth of color and young women of color that are often overlooked in our struggles for justice.

And with the support of a generous donor, every dollar contributed to SPARK by Midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000!

Your financial contribution to SPARK will provide the necessary support we need as we continue to implement our longstanding and successful programming:

  • Speak Justice Take Action Program educates our constituency on the legislative process and offer 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.


  • Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering Program and FYRE Media Justice Camp 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.


  • SPARK Organizing Intensive 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.

This important work would not be possible without your continued and generous support. SPARK is one of the few organizations in the Deep South that actively organizes local communities and pushes for policies that improve the lives of black women and LGBTQ youth of color. Your single contribution will have TWICE the impact in 2015. Please give and join with us in affirming: Our lives matter. Our families matter. Our communities matter.

Yours in the struggle,

Board of Directors
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

Change Starts with Just a SPARK of Justice. Give Back Today!

Gving Tuesday HeaderDear Friends,

We are at an important crossroads when it comes to the health and rights of Black women and Queer and Trans youth of color in the state of Georgia.

During the 2014 Legislative Session, House Bill 990 passed, adding yet another barrier to closing the coverage gap for low-income uninsured Georgians by requiring that Medicaid expansion meet the approval of the State legislature. Compounding this loss, conservative leadership was re-elected to every constitutional office during the 2014 mid-term elections, and marginalized communities, particularly Queer and Trans youth of color, continue to be denied access to media to tell their own stories of reproductive oppression.

Thanks to the support of reproductive justice advocates like you, SPARK is able to fight back, giving a voice to Black women and Queer and Trans youth of color, that are often overlooked. In order to continue our efforts, we need your help!

SPARK is the only organization in the Deep South that actively organizes local communities, mobilizes activists, and advocates for policies that improve the lives of Black women and Queer and Trans youth of color. Our programming develops leaders from marginalized communities to participate in the legislative process; trains media spokespersons to tell their own stories, offers political analysis; and mobilizes diverse leaders throughout the Atlanta area to support policies and practices that ensure reproductive freedom for all.

  1. Our Speak Justice Take Action Program allows us to educate our constituency on the legislative process and offers policy analysis using a queer political frame. Through this program, we have developed leaders from marginalized communities to speak to the Georgia legislature and administrators about women’s health, reproductive justice, and the health coverage gap, criminalization of women and families, and voting rights. This year, we hosted our eighth annual “Legislate THIS!” Day of Action bringing 59 community members to the Georgia State Capitol, lobbied 20 representatives, and empowered 4 youth leaders to share their stories.
  1. Our Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering Program and FYRE Media Justice Camp (FMJC) allows us to provide 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. In our 2014 FMJC, we hosted 10 Queer youth of color and produced 3 blogs and 3 short films on the coverage gap, abortion, and violence experienced by Queer and Trans youth of color.
  1. SPARK’s Integrated Voter Engagement Program has been highly successful. This program centers around educating women of color voters and their families across the greater Atlanta area on issues ranging from education, community violence, and police misconduct to health care. SPARK also empowered voters to share their health care access stories in light of the coverage gap caused Georgia’s shameful refusal to participate in Medicaid expansion. Through our Integrated Voter Engagement Program, SPARK touched 4,273 voters and their families through door knocking, telephone canvassing, and a direct mail campaign. In addition, we targeted outreach to LGBTQQ youth of color voters via a Twitter chat.

As we move into 2015, SPARK recognizes that the work that we do is pivotal to building and sustaining a reproductive justice movement in the South. We know that our efforts can inspire new grassroots leadership, stand in solidarity with and support the small cadre of organizations during similar work in Georgia and throughout the Southern region, and show the powerbrokers in Georgia that the best way to make sustainable change starts with just a spark of justice.

We stand firm in our commitment to work with our partners to make a difference in our communities regardless of the conservative super-majority that makes up the Georgia legislature. Failure is not an option!

Please join us by signing on to our team of Sustaining Donors today. Give to ensure that reproductive justice in the South can inspire change throughout the nation.

Thank you for your commitment and support.


Heidi Williamson, Board President
SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

In Our Own Voices: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda Statement in Solidarity with the Family of Michael Brown


Marcela Howell

This Thanksgiving, we hugged our children, grateful for their presence in the safety of our families, but pained by the necessity to once again explain the horrible tragedy that marked the death of another young Black man. It was a difficult discussion that we know was repeated among Black families across the country.

We cried for the family of Michael Brown who not only had to spend this Thanksgiving with the tragic loss of their son, but also with the travesty of a justice system that refused to grant their family justice.

As Reproductive Justice organizations, we believe that all women have the right to have children, the right to not have children and the right to nurture the children we have in safe and healthy environments. For Lesley McSpadden that meant raising her son Michael, watching him mature, marry, have his own children and grow old. In just a matter of minutes on a hot afternoon in August, Officer Darren Wilson took that right away from her.

For three long months, we joined her in praying that justice would come out of the deliberations of this grand jury, though our prayers were full of doubt that a racist justice system would be turned around overnight. But we hoped, that at a minimum, there would be a trial to account for this brutal murder and the indignity of leaving Michael’s body in the hot sun for hours.

Instead of justice, we saw a prosecuting attorney who blamed the victim for his own death, who called witnesses liars, and who casually dismissed his manipulation of the members of the grand jury. Instead of justice, we saw Officer Wilson’s coldhearted shrugs during an interview in which he declared that he would not be ‘haunted’ by the shooting of this unarmed young man.

The grand jury decision to not indict sends a message that the state sanctioned murders of young Black men will continue. And like the aftermath of the 1831 Nat Turner revolution where colonists beheaded enslaved Africans, leaving their heads on the road as warnings to other enslaved Africans who craved freedom, callously leaving Michael’s body on the ground in the hot sun was a warning to others that their lives could just as easily be sacrificed.

The laws of this country were not written to protect, respect or serve Black communities. So we call on the U.S. Department of Justice to continue its investigation into police misconduct and excessive use of force in Ferguson, Missouri. We call on President Obama to take a leadership role in denouncing the biased manipulations of the prosecuting attorney. In this tragic moment in history we seek leadership to move us forward not to hold steady the status quo.

We raise our voices and stand in solidarity with the families of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, John Crawford, Trayvon Martin, Joell Anderson, Andy Lopez, Renisha McBride, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell, Ezell Ford, Ayanna Standley Jones, Yvette Smith and the countless, countless others who have lost their lives to a lawless police system.

In Our Own Voices: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national initiative formed by five Black women’s Reproductive Justice organizations: Black Women for Wellness Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices Pittsburgh, SisterLove, Inc. and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, in partnership with the Communications Consortium Media Center.

We Are Here. We Are Strong. We Matter.

During the 2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp, 10 youth of color came together from three Southern states to develop short films and blogs that touched on various issues important to them as Queer and Trans youth of color living in the South. One group chose to use their stories as Black Queer youth to highlight the disproportionate amount of violence faced by Queer and Trans people of color and women of color.

From the Missouri Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, to Marissa Alexander having to accept a plea deal to avoid a lengthy prison term for daring to defend herself in the face of domestic violence – our media has become inundated with countless examples of violence perpetrated against people of color, particularly Black communities.

During this time, we feel that it is important to amplify and center the voices of queer and trans youth of color in the fight against systemic oppression. Please listen, share the stories of these amazing young leaders, and join us as we continue to fight for justice in the South and a future free of violence.

Remember Trans Power. Fight for Trans Lives!

Today, Thursday, November 20th, marks the National Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) dedicated to honoring and lifting up the names of those members of the trans community whose lives have been taken due to racist, sexist, transphobic, and tramsmisognyst violence.

As a member of Strong Families, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW is lifting up trans women of color as living and powerful members of our families, communities and movements and reaffirming our commitment to fostering a Southern RJ movement grounded in the beliefs that individuals and communities should have the resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about their bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives.

SF Remember Trans Power BazantWe share this original art by Micah Bazant with you as one way to lift up the power and resiliency of trans women of color. Micah says about the piece:

“I created this piece with input from the TransJustice group at Audre Lorde Project. We wanted an image that continues to reframe TDOR as a time to honor the living as well as the dead, keeps pushing LGBTQ communities to center trans women of color, and draws attention to the criminalization of trans women of color by the police. We also wanted to celebrate love and support between trans feminine people of color of different generations and gender expressions.”

Please continue to share this image with your families, friends, and colleagues using the hashtag #fightfortranslives and let us all continue to honor the fallen and fight like hell for the living.

Yours in community struggle,

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW

Atlanta TDOR Events

Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil “It’s Time…”
Event Link

Thursday, November 20
6:30pm – 10:00pm
Phillip Rush Center Annex Bldg.
1530 Dekalb Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), people who identify as transgender were 28% more likely to experience physical violence than those whom are not Trans identified.

Keynote Speaker: Reverend Maressa Pendermon
Unity Fellowship Church Movement (Atlanta)
Event Sponsors: Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal
Media Sponsor: Alternative Perspectives Radio Host Betty Couvertier

Trans* Day of Resilience
Event Link

Black Is Blue FilmFriday, November 21
6:00pm – 10:00pm
Phillip Rush Center Annex Bldg.
1530 Dekalb Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

It is so important that we honor our trancestors, and especially those whose lives were taken in violence. It is also ever important that we remember how resilient we are and take a moment to reflect and celebrate. Please join Lambda Legal the day after Atlanta’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, for a Trans* Day of Resilience!

  • Happy/healthy hour – (drinks and hors d’ouevres)
  • Art exhibit
  • Film screening
  • Panel Discussion
  • Performances

First ATL screening of “Black is Blue” with lead actor, Kingston Faraday there for a question/answer following the film. Check out the trailer:

Georgia Gives Day: Support Southern Queer & Trans Youth!

Dear SPARK Family, Friends, Allies & Supporters:

GA Gives DayOn Thursday, November 13th, SPARK will participate in Georgia Gives Day and join hundreds of organizations from across the State of Georgia in mobilizing for the fiscal sustainability of our work for social change in the South.

According to Out In The South – Part Two, a survey assessing the LGBTQ community resources in 14 Southern States (2014), only 3% of LGBTQ funding is distributed to LGBTQ organizations in the South. Of the 76 LGBTQ organizations in the South, about 50% have only one or no full time staff and 55% have budgets of less than $250,000. Strong work is being done in the South with minimal resources by SPARK and others. In order to thrive, we need your help!

FMJC '14 CampersBased in Georgia, SPARK recognizes how essential it is to invest in the leadership and voices of women of color, young parents, and LGBTQQ youth of color in the fight for reproductive justice. Your financial support allows us to ensure that these voices – the ones most impacted by reproductive injustices – can bring their deep understanding of the political conditions of the South to our movements and work. Georgia Gives Day is your opportunity to demonstrate the power of prioritizing Southern leadership in Southern movements!

SPARK seeks to raise funds in our first Georgia Gives Day campaign to offset the expense of our 2nd IGNITE Queer and Trans Youth of Color Convening (IGNITE). This gathering is fully funded by SPARK for queer and trans youth of color ages 18 – 25 who live in the Southern region. IGNITE will provide an opportunity for LGBTQ youth of color from across the region to engage in dialogue, political education, skill shares, networking, and to begin to organize state level action plans on the issues that most impact their lives. Leaders attending this convening will be able to build unity with other queer and trans youth of color throughout the South while deepening their leadership skills and further preparing them to take action in their local communities!

How Can You Help?

Stand with us on Thursday, November 13th, 2014 and let’s demonstrate the power of Southern giving!

Join Our Team! SPARK Seeks Executive Director

Executive Director – Posted 11/10/2014

Position Description

Founded in 2007, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW has worked to build and strengthen the power of our communities and a reproductive justice movement that centers on Black women and LGBTQ people in Georgia and the South. By developing new leaders from marginalized communities, nurturing relationships with community partners and rethinking how we create sustainable change, we envision a world where Georgia and the South continuously cultivates communities where we can all make free and healthy decisions about our bodies, genders, sexualities, families and lives.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, we have fostered a dynamic, collaborative model of advocacy, leadership, collective action and discourse that creates change and impact for Black women and queer people’s struggles for reproductive justice. We are searching for an energetic, knowledgeable leader who can take the organization to the next level of social change impact.

The Executive Director reports to the SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW Board of Directors, which provides governance, direction, mission guidance and support for programs and activities, as well as serving as fiduciary agents.


SPARK is seeking a visionary leader and spokesperson who has deep knowledge of and commitment to the reproductive justice field, and the LGBTQ movement. The candidate should be experienced and skilled in the areas of management and fundraising, public policy and grassroots advocacy, program and organizational development. The ideal Executive Director will have a demonstrated commitment and passion for courageous progressive views and a proven track record of effective leadership and collaboration.

While no candidate will embody every quality, the successful candidate will possess many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Board Partnership Affinity: SPARK has an active, national board of governance volunteers who work in partnership with the executive director. An ability to partner with the board in promoting the mission and sustainability of the organization is essential.
  • Organizational Growth Management: Experience in managing institutional growth and change. Skills in staff management, team building, mentoring and developing young and emerging leaders. Organizational capacity-building skills that support strong systems, focused goal setting and a fiscally sound organization.
  • Fund Development Ability: Fundraising ability, experience and enthusiasm is required. Demonstrated track record of raising significant funds from a variety of sources and a willingness to actively build and sustain strong relationships with existing and prospective funders, individual donors including major and sustainer donors, and other stakeholders. A network of contacts with foundations, individual donor prospects, activists and organizations working in this field at all levels, from the local to the national is appreciated.
  • Fiscal Stewardship: Strong financial accounting and budgeting experience, drafting and presenting budgets, interpreting financial statements, familiarity with accounts payable, accounts receivables, and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  • Community Partnership/Collaboration Leadership Skills: Commitment and skill in refining and growing SPARK’s diverse network of national allies, community partners and constituents.
  • Program Planning and Implementation Talent: The ability to create and design program strategies, manage program budgets, implement staff and volunteer based community actions and identify and implement targeted policy strategies in a way that expands the understanding of RJ in the community and among policy makers.
  • Communications Competence: Strong written and oral communication skills with the ability to frame tough problems, utilize an analysis that centers Black women and queer issues, and convey complex ideas in easily understood terms that resonate with diverse audiences. Ability to oversee a vibrant communication strategy and to be responsive to media and social networking opportunities.
  • Willingness to travel extensively.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills are required and a sense of humor is a plus.The Executive Director must be located in or willing to relocate to Atlanta. The salary for this position will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience. SPARK offers an excellent medical and dental benefits package, including vacation and medical leave. Special flex-time arrangements can be offered to candidates who are highly qualified. SPARK does not pay for relocation.

Salary & Benefits

The salary for this position will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience. SPARK offers an excellent medical and dental benefits package, including vacation and medical leave. Special flex-time arrangements can be offered to candidates who are highly qualified


The candidate must be located in or willing to relocate to Atlanta, GA. SPARK does not pay for relocation.

To Apply

Please follow directions carefully.

Applicants should email a cover letter, a resume, and one brief writing sample (2-3 pages) to Place “SPARK Executive Director” in the subject line. All inquiries and applications will be kept confidential. Materials received by November 28th are assured full consideration. Expected start date is January 2015.


No phone calls please. For more info, email

SPARK is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the bases of race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit based factor.

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

Advance Voting Ends TODAY!

As October ends, so does Early Voting!

SPARK CanvassersSPARK has been hard at work throughout October informing our communities of when and where to vote. Today is no different!

You can still vote early at ANY early voting location in YOUR county. To find your advance voting location, visit “My Voter Page” or check out the Advance Voting Information list on the Secretary of State’s website.

Your voice and vote matter! If you have already voted, share your voting experience with us by using the hashtag #SPARKTHEVOTE on Facebook and Twitter.

Please share this reminder with your friends, families, and networks. Our voices are stronger united.