By Brianna McAdoo, Special to the AFRO

During a critical time for reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood has made a shift in leadership, announcing that Alexis McGill Johnson will serve as the acting president and CEO of the organization. In a statement released by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda (NBWRJA), they expressed their support of the newly appointed McGill Johnson. 

In the U.S., where Black women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth or pregnancy than White women, it is urgent for the intersections of race and access to quality reproductive care to be prioritized.  

Planned Parenthood named Alexis McGill Johnson as president and CEO of the organization and the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, as well as other Black women’s organizations, expressed their support.

As a woman of color and champion of health equity, Alexis McGill Johnson brings crucial professional and personal experience as she takes the reins of Planned Parenthood,” NBWRJA highlighted in their statement.  “ She surely understands the intersection of the issues connected to reproductive health and rights because of her own lived experiences.” 

McGill Johnson is far from new to the inner workings of Planned Parenthood, she previously served as the Chair of the Board for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) from 2013 to 2015 in addition to being a board member for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for over a decade. 

Aside from her work at Planned Parenthood, she is the executive director and co-founder of the Perception Institute, a research consortium focused on a myraid of identities including race, gender and ethnic, and finding solutions to discrimination. In 2018, McGill Johnson co-constructed Starbuck’s racial bias training curriculum. 

In a statement released by PPFA board Chair Aimee Cunningham and PPAF Board Chair Jennie Rosenthal announcing McGill Johnson’s appointment, they spotlight her service to the organization over the years. “She expanded the organization’s philanthropic reach and helped develop a strategic plan to increase access to Planned Parenthood’s health centers and identify new technologies to meet the needs of Planned Parenthood’s patients,” the statement said.

“She is a trusted and tireless advocate for reproductive justice. Her resume of accomplishments and experience is exhaustive,” stated the NBWRJA.  “A longtime leader in Planned Parenthood and an expert on social justice movements, we are excited to stand with her on the front lines of the fight for reproductive rights, health equity and justice.”

In addition to the endorsement from In Our Own Voice NBWRJA, the support statement was also signed by Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision

McGill Johnson took to Twitter to share her excitement. “Having been part of the Planned Parenthood family for nearly a decade, and having spent my career working in movements for social justice, I can’t think of a greater honor or more weighty responsibility than leading an organization like Planned Parenthood in this moment,” the new President and CEO wrote.