Press release: Anti-abortion billboards demean black women and black community

From Goddesses Rising:

Contact:

Toni M. Bond Leonard (312) 919-1211

Cherisse Scott (773) 503-7489

BLACK WOMEN FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE SAY ANTI-ABORTION BILLBOARDS ON CHICAGO’S SOUTHSIDE ARE DEMEANING TO BLACK WOMEN AND THE ENTIRE BLACK COMMUNITY

Trust Black Women coalition member, Black Women for Reproductive Justice demand that billboards be taken down accusing Black women of killing potential Black leaders

CHICAGO, IL, March 29, 2011: Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ) is speaking out against the three billboards recently placed by the anti-choice group, LifeAlways, at 5812 South State Street, featuring the image of President Barack Obama that targets Black women for having abortions and demands that they be taken down.

Toni Bond Leonard, BWRJ President/CEO, says “The groups behind these heinous attacks upon Black women care nothing about Black children or the Black community. These are some of the same groups who fought against healthcare reform and oppose government safety net programs that would directly benefit Black women, our families and our communities.” “This billboard and the twenty-nine others they plan to erect are offensive to Black women and the Black community, overall. We saw them cowardly placing the billboards in the dark late last night. These billboards are painting an abhorrent image of Black women as perpetrators of a plan to eradicate the future Black race.” “That they would place these billboards in the Black community with such a despicable lie is reprehensible. It also must not go unnoted that they placed the billboards on the side of a building facing a vacant lot filled with garbage and broken glass. This only further shows their disrespect for Black women and the Black community that all they could think to do was put up billboards telling us Black women are preventing future leaders from being born. What about highlighting the need for economic resources to remove garbage-filled lots in urban areas and creating safe communities,” says Bond Leonard.

BWRJ says their research has revealed that LifeAlways is, in fact, financially supported by the anti-choice group Heroic Media which has been involved in numerous fundraising events for former Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Cherisse Scott, BWRJ’s Health Educator/Campaign Coordinator says, “The fact that LifeAlways and Heroic Media would use the bodies of Black women as a way to further their own political agenda is unconscionable.” “Black women have the least access to reproductive and sexual health education including family planning, prevention and transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Our communities are overwrought with violence, lack of access to education, high rates of unemployment, and lack of access to healthy foods. Those are the real issues – not Black women making the decisions that we understand are in the best interest of our families.”

BWRJ is one of the Midwest anchor organizations for Trust Black Women, a national coalition of Black women’s reproductive justice organizations around the country, who have come together to take a stance in defending reproductive justice for Black women and girls.

“We will not fall for, or stand silently by while those who are against human rights attempt to divide the Black community around reproductive and sexual justice issues,” says Bond Leonard. “Groups like LifeAlways and Heroic Media cannot pull the wool over Black women’s eyes and that of the Black community. We will not be silent victims in this assault upon our reproductive and racial integrity. Their placement of these billboards in the Black community only further highlights their lack of competency around the reproductive health disparities that Black women and girls face and these groups’ unwillingness to deal with the social and economic disparities of the entire Black community.”

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