By Brianna McAdoo, Special to the AFRO
Many Black women are loud and clear on their feelings about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh- they are absolutely not here for it. This past week, the founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Marcela Howell released a statement denouncing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. In Our Own Voice said it believes our solution lies within our voting power.
Howell is a fearless advocate for the empowerment of Black women within the United States and internationally. As a long time activist she has dedicated over 40 years as a champion for women’s rights and reproductive justice. Howell, alongside eight other organizations fighting for reproductive justice for Black women, founded the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda in the Fall of 2014. In addition to the groundbreaking work Howell does at In Our Own Voice, she is also the author of Walk In My Shoes: A Black Activists Guide to Surviving the Women’s Movement.
In Our Own Voice: The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda stood against Kavanaugh through protest and then a written statement denouncing the Senate’s decision. (Courtesy Photo)
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, is a “national organizational initiative designed to amplify and lift up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing fight to secure Reproductive Justice for all women and girls,” according to the organization’s website.
Intersectionality is at the forefront of their fight. In Our Own Voice, has a clear focus on the ways in which race, gender, class, sexual orientation and gender identity affect laws, policy and the health care system in the United States and disenfranchise Black women. Thus, they have positioned themselves as a vehicle to social change with a particular focus on abortion rights, contraceptive equity and comprehensive sex education.
The statement released by Howell voices the eminent danger that both women of color and immigrant women face as a direct result of Kavanaugh’s confirmation that could allow him to serve for two decades, giving him ample time to implement his conservative and restrictive views on a host of issues ranging from civil rights to abortion rights.
While the issues that Kavanaugh votes on affect millions of Americans, In Our Own Voice is calling on society to stand alongside Black women, a group that has routinely been neglected, discounted and disenfranchised in conversations about their own bodies.
Howell released the following as a call to action:
“Women of color and immigrant women understand that our rights and our lives are at stake as a result of today’s confirmation vote. Judge Kavanaugh has a history of restrictive views on civil rights, safe and legal abortion, access to birth control, workers’ rights and immigrant rights that will be detrimental to Black women.”
The group criticized the Senate.
“Having confirmed Kavanaugh to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate has failed to rise above partisan agendas and, as a result, has undermined the integrity of the highest court in the land,” she wrote. “With Judge Kavanaugh confirmed, we now have the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our government stacked against us.
She called on people to exercise their civic duties by voting.
“Now, we have only one option to safeguard our rights and lives – our voting power. We must hold our elected leaders accountable, demand that our rights are respected and replace those who vote against our best interests.”