This past week I’ve been shocked by the latest horrific injustice and loss of life of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and now the attack and further loss of life of police officers at a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. It’s hard to know what to say, to be honest, in the face of so much pain and ongoing injustice, in the face of such racially charged violence. But what I can say today is that Planned Parenthood stands with #BlackLivesMatter. Because black lives do matter – they MATTER – and we cannot be silent in the face of this horrific status quo of violence and injustice.
Planned Parenthood health centers focus first and foremost on reproductive health care. And our advocacy arms, Planned Parenthood Action Funds, focus on the laws and rights, and electing candidates who will support access to birth control and abortion. But reproductive care and rights are not enough – we need reproductive justice – justice where a black mother can feel safe knowing that her child will be treated fairly and is not simply one traffic stop away from violence, from death. Justice where the emotional and mental health toll of fear is not weighing daily on the hearts and minds of the black community and other communities of color – that toll is real, both in direct violence, but also in hurting the wellbeing of all members of racially oppressed communities with the toxic cloud of injustice and fear.
I don’t have the answers. I’m not an expert on how to deescalate violence, nor on how to address the enormous problem of eliminating the racism that is woven into the law enforcement system in our nation. But I can speak out, and I can encourage you to speak out as well and to raise your voice to support and take action with organizations who are working every day on this issue of racial injustice: