What a night! This morning my heart is in Georgia, where Southern Black women are realizing audacious plans to mobilize voters. Congratulations to Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Georgia! I’m ready to eat an entire peach cobbler in hopes of a re-energized fight for reproductive justice.
My heart is also in Washington, D.C., where a lawless authoritarian president trying to overthrow the election, and with it our country, has encouraged white nationalists and militia-types to come to the city where hundreds of thousands of people live and work, many of them people of color.
Finally, my heart is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where yesterday a district attorney announced that the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back will not face charges.
If 2021 means any one thing, it’s this: We must keep organizing.
Joe Biden will be inaugurated president on January 20, and I want to be very clear: The struggle for justice will not become suddenly smooth. Before co-founding Reproaction with Pamela Merritt, I saw the need for an institutionalized left flank like Reproaction in large part due to my experiences working for women’s rights in Washington during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, when Democrats held all the levers of power and proactively offered sweeping new abortion funding restrictions that were enacted into law.
The struggle for justice will always require bold activists who are not concerned with getting invited to the meeting, who will hold the line even if they are despised and ridiculed for doing so. Reproaction is gearing up for a new administration that must end burdensome restrictions on abortion pills. Demand budgets and bills with full abortion funding and leaders with the spines to stick up for them. And take executive action on day one to increase access abortion at home and around the world.
Activists have every right to urgency. We’re not here to be cheerleaders or take promises for a supposedly more strategic time. It is always the right time to do the right thing. That time is now.
On that note, I’m excited to share with you a number of well-deserved promotions on our team at this critical moment for our work to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice. Shireen Shakouri is stepping into leadership as deputy director, Caitlin Blunnie as outreach and culture manager, Jessica Ensley as digital outreach manager, Elizabeth Skoski as development and operations manager, Kara Mailman as senior research analyst, and Evonnia Woods as senior outreach producer. Please join me in extending them warm congratulations.
I’d like to close my first note to you as the sole executive director for Reproaction to share that through our transitions, Reproaction remains committed to multi-racial, anti-racist leadership for our organization and in the field more broadly. I am particularly grateful for the leadership and support of our Advisory Council, which is 75 percent women of color. (Some of them from Georgia! So much love to you this morning!)