Content warning: This statement discusses police brutality, racism, and violence.
To Our Community,
The International Women’s Health Coalition is heartbroken about the senseless acts of racist violence that led to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor—just a fraction of the persistent injustice this country has inflicted upon Black people for more than 400 years. Black people have, for far too long, watched their families and friends lose their lives while doing things that many privileged people take for granted.
We can only begin to imagine the raw emotions people may be feeling and the fear Black people, including those within our very own community, continue to experience every day. These incidents have shaken all of us, to our core. As an organization that supports and advocates alongside many feminist groups in the Global South, we stand in solidarity with activists to achieve justice.
Systematic racism, neglect, and indifference have ingrained themselves in every aspect of American society, including health care, causing Black communities to suffer disproportionately from COVID-19, increased maternal mortality, and limited access to reproductive services. Everyone deserves to self-determine their reproductive lives and futures, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. This includes having the ability to parent children and create, sustain, and define families free from the terrors of policing and criminalization. Because the deep rooted and far-reaching tentacles of racism can be felt in every corner of our lives, it is the shared responsibility of those with more privilege to take action.
Gender equality and justice simply cannot be realized without racial equality and justice. Our commitment to creating an environment of inclusion, support, and belonging can only be achieved by dismantling the oppressive systems that privilege whiteness. We believe in sharing power, amplifying historically marginalized voices, and celebrating diverse stories to build a world where everyone feels safe, secure, and valued.
We will actively work within ourselves, our communities, and our movements to end the oppression of Black people and uphold the human rights of all. As feminists, we stand in solidarity with movements across the United States. We commit to supporting and uplifting Black activists, and join our staff and partners in saying, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.
Photo: Black Lives Matter Protest