Representatives of Black Lives Matter, Trust Black Women, and New Voices for Reproductive Justice came together publicly to speak on how fighting for the rights of black women needs to be accomplished on multiple fronts, according to Colorlines.

One of the main reasons that no two people are completely alike is because they all connect to different ideas and represent different things. While two women may both be black, one could be gay, from a middle class background, grew up Muslim, and is happily married while the other could be an atheist with two children and a constant battle with mental illness. While their shared race is an important part of both of these women’s identities, there’s clearly more there. Therefore, treating black women as one collective monolith who have completely identical experiences won’t lead to much progress.

To address the problems black women face while acknowledging intersectionality, Regina Mahone, the managing editor of RH Reality Check led a discussion in St. Louis, Missouri. Speakers included Monica Raye Simpson,  the director of the Trust Black Women Partnership, Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and La’Tasha D. Mayes, the founder of New Voices for Reproductive Justice.

Read statements from the discussion, via Colorlines, below:

The conditions facing Black communities here in the United States and around the world are multifaceted and they are complex. And if you are to be able to make any successful intervention in those intersectional crises, then we have to approach it from a more comprehensive position. With that being said, I think from our perspective, reproductive justice is very much situated within the Black Lives Matter movement. – Alicia Garza on intersectionality 

We look at Cleveland where we see the deaths of Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson, and then to co-opt our language in talking about access to abortion is absolutely insulting. And so when billboards [employing negative messaging about abortion] come up in our communities, in the past what we’ve been able to do is get those billboards taken down. But we believe it’s necessary to take a proactive approach in changing the culture and stigma around Black woman and abortion, and so in that way we have used similar tactics. – La’Tasha D. Mayes on hi-jacking Black Lives Matter slogans to support anti-abortion campaigns

At the end of the day, politicians first just need to stop interfering with our decisions about pregnancy and our families and our bodies and start doing their jobs to invest in and address the concerns of Black communities. We get these constant reminders from them or all of these backlashes from them, but they really need to invest in our communities as opposed to reprimanding or trying to move forward legislation that continues to harm or limit our access. That’s number one. Also, now more than ever, Black women are standing up for the issues that matter to us and demanding change. – Monica Raye Simpson on the role politicians can play a role in igniting change rather than stalling it 


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