sister song

Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong, the National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, explains why reproductive justice is a black issue.

From HuffPost Black Voices:

The truth of the matter is all of life intersects and we do not live single-issue lives. We can feel the pressure and discrimination. We see the violence inflicted upon us on a news loop 24 hours a day. But do we also know that Black women are dying at a rate four times higher than their white counterparts in childbirth? Do we know that Black women still make less than their male counterparts? Do we know that Mississippi is down to one last abortion clinic for the entire state? Do we know that pregnant women in Tennessee are being criminalized for substance abuse issues as opposed to being rehabilitated? Do we know that federal funds cannot be used to assist women in getting an abortion due to the Hyde Amendment?

Black women have always been at the forefront of our movements. It was the organizing efforts of Black women that started the Reproductive Justice movement twenty years ago and Black queer women that started the Black Lives matter movement, yet we still have to constantly reaffirm that black women and girls’ lives are equally as important to the lives of Black men and boys.

Black women have always marched on the front lines for justice and we did so sometimes with menstruation pains, we did so having to remember to take our birth control, we did so pregnant or caring for children, we did so dealing with non-consensual touch or harassment and we did so sometimes with the picture of our slain child, or husband or father or brother or sister on our shirt as a memory.

As I look to the future, I envision a world where our reproductive rights aren’t seen as a separate issue that fall squarely on our shoulders alone. To separate reproductive health and rights from the fight for Black liberation would only further our opponents ability to use wedge issues as a strategy to divide us and diminish our collective force that we have yet to fully exercise.

Read the rest at HuffPost Black Voices