BWRJ Policy & Advocacy
BWRJ’s overall goal through its policy and advocacy component was to support the development of Black women as agents of social change by training them to understand the issues and how to use the reproductive justice framework to highlight their lived experiences to effect change. BWRJ sought to bring to light those issues that everyday women might not hear or know about and empowered them with the tools to make their unique voices heard with policymakers.
BWRJ’s goal in its public policy work was to effect changes in those restrictive reproductive health policies that impede Black women and girls from realizing full reproductive health and autonomy. BWRJ worked to impact policies at both the local and national level around issues like the regulation of feminine hygiene products, comprehensive sexuality education, access to emergency contraception, and abortion access. But more than that, BWRJ worked to help policymakers understand the unique impact of restrictive policies upon the lives of Black women and girls.
The Healthy Vagina Campaign (HVC)
The HVC educated women about the health risks associated with douching. Through HVC, BWRJ sought to effect policy changes at the national level around the regulation of harmful feminine douching products. In November, 2007 BWRJ got its policy resolution about douching passed at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.
Another important piece of this work included getting medical schools to adopt curriculum about the risks associated with douching, as well as creating policies at the local, state, and federal levels geared towards eradicating the unhealthy practice of douching.
Black Women’s Policy Advocate Training
BWRJ’s Policy Advocate training included organizing and mobilizing, BWRJ’s issue areas, the history of reproductive justice, and understanding the legislative process. A two-day training, this curriculum introduced Black women to the reproductive justice framework and prepared them to become advocates in the reproductive justice movement.
Illinois Reproductive Justice Fund
Throughout its existence, BWRJ maintained a small fund that helped make abortion accessible to women in Illinois. The fund, a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, offered direct financial assistance to pay for a first-trimester abortion or to help with associated costs like transportation and housing, and/or emergency contraception.
“Kitchen Table Talk” (KITT) is BWRJ’s internet radio show. KITT provides listeners with cutting-edge discussions of everything for, by, and about Black women and then some. KITT focuses on what it takes for Black women to be healthy, have healthy families, and live in healthy communities. It covers a number of timely topics that impact the lives and health of Black women and their families.