Gathering The Family For Reproductive Justice

February 11, 2016 (originally published on Medium)

“Family” can be a source of comfort and creativity, whether we’re with the clan we were born into, our children, kinships we’ve created, or friends we claim because we love them as our own. If we’re lucky enough to have any kind of safe and understanding family, getting together can help ground and challenge us. It reminds us we’re not alone.

Quixote Foundation has sent "Thank You Notes" in the form of unsolicited, unrestricted $25,000 grants to three organizations that bring together the family of women and men working toward reproductive justice. Sister Song, Take Root, and Civil Liberties and Public Policy each provide a forum for advocates to exchange information while surrounded by love and support from others who share their goals. As always, these Thank You Notes are given in appreciation for current work, with no projects, work products or reports expected in the future.

Sister Song is a national collective that gathers, strengthens and amplifies the voices of indigenous women and women of color. With goals of eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights to achieve reproductive justice, Sister Song ventures well beyond issues of choice or even access. Everywhere we look, we find Sister Song connecting deeply with other social justice movements, raising awareness about causes that are aligned.

Take Root also views reproductive justice through a wide-angle lens, an approach they describe as “Rooting the fight for Reproductive Health, Rights, and Dignity in the Struggle for Social, Racial, Political and Economic Justice.” Hosted by the University of Oklahoma’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, this month’s Take Root conference will gather students, academics, practitioners, advocates and community members to explore “Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice.” The event will help infuse our national conversation with vision and language from the heartland, and it will build relationships among advocates who often work in isolation in regions highly impacted by reproductive oppression.

Hampshire College’s Civil Liberties and Public Policy program develops new activists and leaders to secure reproductive freedom, justice and sexual rights for everyone. The 2016 Conference, titled “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom,” will be held April 8–10 in Amherst, Massachusetts. CLPP is offering travel stipends for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend, with priority given to first-time participants and applicants from Southern states.

These organizations are living examples of what organized philanthropy recently loves to call “intersectionality” — also known, more simply, as “reality.” Social issues don’t exist in isolation and their solutions can’t be developed there either. Sister Song, Take Root and CLPP understand how progress accelerates when nonprofits take a borderless approach, gathering and welcoming activists from every branch of the reproductive and social justice family. We hope foundations will follow their brilliant lead.

—written by Keneta Anderson for Quixote Foundation