New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice

Shifting the narrative on how we speak, write & mobilize Reproductive Justice.

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Women’s Equality Day 2013: Celebrating the nostalgia of past successes while remaining rooted in the dangers of the future

 Today, August 26, 2013 is Women’s Equality Day. It marks 93 years that white women have had access to the vote, and over 40 years since this day has been nationally recognized. Giving full credit to the importance of what this day means to the legacy of…

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Filed under blackpowerisforblackmen solidarityisforwhitewomen ballot Black Women felony gender Personhood Presidential elections redistricting Supreme Court voter suppression Voting Rights Act 1965 Women&039;s Equality Day 2013

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RSVP to the No Stigma! No Shame! Teen Families Conference | July 13th, 2013


In March 2013, we launched the No Stigma! No Shame! campaign, in response to the New York City Human Resources Administration’s “Think Being a Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?” teen pregnancy prevention campaign. While most of the teen pregnancy prevention ads are gone, the HRA has green-lighted its annual positive messaging ads for adult men on how to be a better father. Such a stark contrast to the shameful and stigmatizing subway and bus ads that were the highlight of the HRA’s teen pregnancy prevention campaign.   
To that end, we are excited to announce the No Stigma! No Shame! Teen Families Conference, taking place, Saturday, July 13th. This day-long conference focuses on emotional wellness, sexual/reproductive health, education, & advocacy. We hope this event speaks to the needs of NYC’s teen families and connects them to organizations and groups that provide support advice on school, jobs, and self sufficiency. This event will include four 40-minute concurrent workshops, as well as a free raffle, free daycare, food, and a networking hour for families to further connect with each other.
We have also secured District 18 Councilwoman Annabel Palma to deliver the keynote address at the conference. A former teen mom, Annabel is Chair of the Committee on General Welfare, and is a member of the Committees on Land Use; Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses (Sub-committee); Standards & Ethics; and Youth Services.
Please help us spread the word about this wonderful event. This event is by RSVP only and is only open to teen parents (female and male) ages 21 and under. If you work with teen parents, please forward the RSVP link. Here is the RSVP link.
Lastly, we are looking for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at nyc4rj[at]gmail[dot]com and let us know what you want to offer assistance with below:
  • Documentation- This includes photography, being active on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Storify, etc), encouraging attendees to share their stories and lessons learned. 
  • Raffle items- This includes securing family centered items (gift cards, diapers, toddler items, etc.) and encouraging attendees to complete feedback forms for all workshops attended. 
  • Publicity- This includes getting the word out about the conference via opinion editorials, blogging, social media, and other venues
  • This also includes reaching out to local media to write about the conference 
Resources- This includes assisting with the gathering of information for the attendees’ conference folders (stats on teen pregnancy nationally and locally, sexual health, healthy eating, job readiness, college preparedness, etc., local and national teen parenting empowerment campaigns, etc.) Logistics- This includes verifying attendees’ registration, set up at conference site, and anywhere else that’s needed Tabling- This includes sharing helpful information for teen parents from your organization, school, business, etc. 

Thanks to you all for your continuous support! 

Nicole Clark- No Stigma! No Shame! campaign lead organizer

Gloria Malone- No Stigma! No Shame! conference coordinator

Filed under NoStigmaNoShame teen pregnancy Teen parents Think Being a Teen Parent Won't Cost You NYC Annabel Palma

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No Stigma! No Shame!: Campaign Update

Since the launch of the No Stigma! No Shame! campaign, we’ve been excited about the many possibilities that our campaign can do to not only inform the New York City Human Resources Administration how ineffective their “Think Being a Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?” is, but to also be part of the larger discussion on how to help the rates of teen pregnancy in New York City continue to decline. 

Also, since the launch we’ve realized that our priorities have shifted. Based on the demands in our letter to the NYC HRA, we still want to hold true to them, but we’ve done a little “about-face” and realized that our primary focus needs to be on visibility. We want to show the HRA that we mean business, and we are serious about empowering teens to have the agency to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves (and to involve adult allies in the process)

To be transparent, some of our frustrations include gaining support from local organizations and lawmakers. Taking on a governmental entity can prove to be concerning, especially for organizations who receive funding from the HRA or from NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Many organizations were not able to sign on to our demand letter as an organization, but many people did sign on as a separate person. Another frustration has been having to come to terms with the need to re-access our priorities, which can often be difficult when you’re amped up to take action. But without this necessary shift, you continue to move forward haphardardly. 

Some of our successes include the huge support we’ve gotten via social media. Our hashtag #NoStigmaNoShame is connecting others around the world on how we all can broaden the conversation on effective ways to prevent teen pregnancy (and not just in NYC). Most importantly, people are ready to mobilize!

Here are some ways for YOU to become involved with the No Stigma! No Shame! campaign:

  • Join the NYC4RJ listserv to stay updated on coalition news at the No Stigma! No Shame! campaign (including dates of in-person and conference call meetings)
  • We’ve developed a few committees and we need volunteers to help us out: Real Teenage Families committee (led by Gloria Malone of Teen Mom NYC, our parenting teen conference committee (an all-day conference for local parenting teens), fundraising committee (develop ways to fundraise for NYC4RJ efforts and the campaign initiatives), direct action committee (develop ways to bring more awareness around the campaign), media outreach committee (developing key talking points for speaking with the media, social media, and blogging), and community outreach (speaking with schools and community organizations about the campaign). Contact us to show your interest in volunteering.
  • Follow NYC4RJ on Twitter (and use the hashtag #NoStigmaNoShame) to receive real-time updates
  • “Like” NYC4RJ on Facebook to stay updated on coalition news at the No Stigma! No Shame! campaign
  • Follow NYC4RJ on Instagram. When you see the HRA’s teen pregnancy prevention ads, take a picture and use the #NoStigmaNoShame hashtag, along with the location of where the ad was placed. Also, share what you think the HRA’s budget of $400,000 would have been more useful for in teen pregnancy prevention (even better, tweet your response to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to the NYC HRA)
  • Share the story of parenting teens on Real Teenage Families
  • If you’re outside of NYC but see similar ads showing up in your city, let us know about it in the comments section below! 

Thanks for your continuous support!

Nicole Clark, MSW

No Stigma! No Shame! campaign lead organizer

Filed under NoStigmaNoShame teen pregnancy

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NYC4RJ Launches the “No Stigma! No Shame!” Campaign



The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice is launches its No Stigma! No Shame! Campaign in response to the Human Resource Administration’s,"Think Being A Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?"campaign.

We ask that you stand with us and sign on listing your affiliation, organization and state. Please send that information and sign on at nyc4rj[at]gmail[dot]com. Support us in getting the word out and pushing for a teen pregnancy prevention campaign that DOES NOT shame and blame teen parents, particularly teen parents of color.
Show up and sign on!
NYC4RJ No Stigma! No Shame! Campaign

Jasmine Burnett
Lead Organizer - NYC4RJ

Nicole Clark
Lead Organizer - No Stigma! No Shame! Campaign

Sign on Letter

Dear Community,
The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice (NYC4RJ) condemns the New York City Human Resource Administration’s (HRA) use of images and messaging that attacks young people and their families. This campaign, “Think Being a Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?” shames teen parents, especially teen parents of color, and uses images of their children to blame them for conditions that are society’s responsibility to address.
The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice is a coalition of grassroots activists in New York City, working to advance the human rights of women and girls of color and LGBTQ people of color through our advocacy priority areas of Education, Health and Families. 
We fail as a society when we shame young people instead of teaching them what they need to know to make the best decisions about their lives. For those of us who do direct service, education and advocacy around issues of poverty, access to comprehensive sex education, contraception, family planning and addressing health disparities that have historically impacted communities of color, we are acutely aware of the budget cuts to programs and services that could address and reverse these conditions within our communities. The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice is holding HRA accountable for reinforcing negative stereotypes about the decision-making ability of young people instead of investing in programs and policies that encourage young people to thrive.
In response to this HRA campaign, the New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice asserts, teen parents need support, not shame! We are launching the NO STIGMA! NO SHAME! Campaign with the following demands:
- Public acknowledgement and apology from HRA
- Removal of all HRA campaign posters
- A meeting between the HRA and NYC4RJ leaders
- Creation of a Teen Parent Council within HRA, composed of teen parents and their advocates, to approve any future messaging around teen pregnancy prevention
In order to address teen pregnancy, the HRA and all New York City government programs must offer teen parents support, not stigmatizing messages.  “In August, according to the Department Of Education’s Sex Education website, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that beginning in the second semester of the 2011-2012 school year, New York City will require schools to include sexual health education as part of comprehensive health education.”  Teen parents need government officials to provide resources that encourage them to foster resilience instead of shaming them for creating their own families.
The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice calls on the HRA to dismantle this reprehensible campaign and address the real problem: lack of support for teen parents and their families.
The New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice

Filed under NoStigmaNoShame Teen Pregnancy Comprehensive Sex Education New York City Think Being a Teen Parent Won't Cost You Stigma Blame Shame Youth Teens

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RSVP: NYC4RJ Meeting Oct. 15-6pm RJ Potluck

Join Us for a Reproductive Justice Pot-Luck!

Our next New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice meeting will be hosted at the home of our FIERCE sister Reynolds Tenazas!

Bring your favorite dish to share and join us in a conversation: Raising our Hands and Voices! The Power of women and girls of color in New York

This will be a wonderful time to join women of color and our allies in a discussion, ideas for action, next steps in defining what civic engagement means for us and to begin forecasting Post-election strategies.

Join us for good food and conversation!

RSVP to:

Filed under NYC4RJ reproductive justice women of color potluck civic engagement

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The latest available figures show that only 48 percent of voting-age women with ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have a birth certificate with their current legal name. The same survey showed that only 66 percent of voting-age women with ready access to any proof of citizenship have a document with their current legal name.

Ultimately, these measures make the voting process more confusing and place additional burdens on groups who each had to struggle to obtain the right to vote and the right to access quality & affordable reproductive health care.

What are leaders in the movement saying?

“If you can’t access the ballot box, how do you ensure access to reproductive health care?” — Aimee Thorne-Thompson, Advocates for Youth

For reproductive justice advocates, voter suppression is a reproductive justice issue. Many groups like the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights (RCRC) and NYC Reproductive Justice Coalition (NYC RJC, formerly SisterSong NYC) and Advocates for Youth work year-around to educate communities on the issues and mobilize them to vote for progressive candidates and ballot measures.

Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Justice Director at RCRC, Angela Ferrell-Zabala says voter suppression has the potential to affect down ballot measures and local races in states like Florida.

“Down ballot issues like Amendment 6 will open the state’s constitutional privacy laws and make it very difficult for women to seek abortion care’’ Ferrell-Zabala states.

If Amendment 6 is passed, politicians will be allowed to intrude on personal medical decisions and take away access to healthcare that many women who are Florida public employees currently have.

There is much at stake and “we have to look at the repercussions, it all leads back to reproductive justice. Accessing healthcare and education — making informed decisions about your sexual health and family planning.” Ferrell-Zabala explains.

This is about agency and the power to transform communities.

“To limit the agency of women and youth who are disenfranchised by the social conditions of our race, gender, age and socio-economic status is unacceptable at best, and a direct violation of our human rights at its worst.” says Jasmine Burnett, NYC RJC lead organizer.

Gloria Feldt, author and past president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America argues that “the young, the poor, the women struggling to make ends meet for their families are most vulnerable to disenfranchisement yet have the most to lose if right-wing perpetrators of voter suppression succeed.”

The power of the women’s vote can only be effectively leveraged if every woman who is eligible to vote is able to enter the voting booth and have her vote counted. If they are not counted in 2012 then, “reproductive rights, health, and justice would be among the first freedoms to go, and economic justice not far behind.” said Feldt.

Charlene Carruthers, “The Right To Vote Affects the Power To Choose: How Voter Suppression In 2012 Will Erode Reproductive Rights,” RH Reality Check 7/13/12 (via racialicious)

Filed under voting rights reproductive justice