Holding ourselves accountable: RHAP’s Commitment to Anti-Racism
Dear RHAP Community,
In June 2020, in response to the murders of George Floyd and too many others, the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) issued a statement in solidarity with the movement for Black lives. In this statement, we acknowledged that as a white-led reproductive health organization working within a medical system founded on violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) – particularly Black women – it was our responsibility to reckon with the racism and other structural oppressions that lie at the very core of the reproductive health and rights movements, our medical institutions, and within our own organization. We solidified this commitment by centering and acting upon racial equity and justice as priority work within our operations and programs in our strategic plan.
Two years later we find ourselves in another moment of reckoning. In May 2022, the Supreme Court’s draft decision in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs was leaked, indicating that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, decimating abortion access for millions. In particular, communities of color, queer folks, immigrants, young people, disabled people, and those working to make ends meet will feel the consequences of SCOTUS’s decision most harshly. We also know that for millions of people, especially those living in states across the South and Midwest, living in a “post-Roe” world is already their reality. Even beyond abortion, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass legislation to protect and honor the human rights of vulnerable communities. Trans rights, voting rights, and immigrant rights are under attack. And, we continue to experience acts of anti-Blackness within our own communities, sometimes even perpetuated by leaders within the reproductive health and primary care movement.
RHAP’s mission is to ensure that we all have equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care, regardless of who we are and where we live. We believe that the fight for abortion access is central to the fight for liberation of all bodies, and in order to achieve true reproductive freedom, our work has to center the experiences and expertise of communities that have long been faced with reproductive and bodily oppression. This means that we must listen to and follow the lead of reproductive justice activists and organizations, particularly those led by Black women.
We know we have a long way to go, and that there is no end date to anti-racism work. As part of holding ourselves accountable to our community, RHAP is sharing the following strategic goals meant to guide us in centering and acting upon equity and justice as priority work within our operations and programs:
- Providing, prioritizing, and allocating resources toward ongoing education and opportunities for staff and Board members to strengthen their knowledge and skills in anti-racist practice and racial justice. This includes:
- Ongoing staff and board trainings with support from outside racial equity experts
- Creating affinity spaces to enable ongoing, sustainable, brave spaces for staff and board members to be introspective and to explore and analyze race and racism within RHAP as an organization, our programs, and our movement.
- Systematically and deliberately applying and incorporating an anti-racist lens into:
- All RHAP programs, beginning by setting equity goals within program plans and listening to the needs and experiences of our clinician community, and;
- RHAP’s organizational structure, policies, and procedures including, but not limited to, compensation, mentorship and professional growth, hiring and retention, and work environment and culture.
- Institutionalizing an Equity Team comprised of board and staff designed to support all members of RHAP to engage in equity work in their daily practice.
- Dedication of financial resources to programs, ongoing education, and emerging needs that arise to support us to analyze and dismantle structural inequities in our organizational and programmatic structures and practices.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or thoughts.
Reproductive Health Access Project
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