Organization working with the Community Board, City Council and the community to rename Margaret Sanger Square
Announcement follows commitment from the organization to become an anti-racist organization and incorporate the principles of race equity into decision-making at every level
NEW YORK – Today, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced its plans to remove Margaret Sanger’s name from the Manhattan Health Center as a public commitment to reckon with its founder’s harmful connections to the eugenics movement. PPGNY also announced it is working with the Community Board, City Council and community to rename an honorary street sign that marks the “Margaret Sanger Square” at the intersection of Bleecker and Mott Streets in Manhattan.
The announcement reflects the first of many organizational shifts to address Sanger's legacy and system of institutional racism, which negatively impacts the well-being of patients, staff and PPGNY’s broader communities. The initiative is part of PPGNY’s Reviving Radical initiative - an initial three-year commitment and framework for holding long overdue dialogues and uplifting a vision for repair and transformation that communities of color and reproductive justice leaders have been calling on for decades.
“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” said Karen Seltzer, Board Chair at PPGNY. “Margaret Sanger’s concerns and advocacy for reproductive health have been clearly documented, but so too has her racist legacy. There is overwhelming evidence for Sanger’s deep belief in eugenic ideology, which runs completely counter to our values at PPGNY. Removing her name is an important step toward representing who we are as an organization and who we serve.”
Launched in 2019, Reviving Radical has engaged more than 300 community members and staff in shaping a new vision for PPGNY’s relationship in the community. Reviving Radical Community Mandates put forth by those in attendance and that we are committing to as an organization:
Reckon with Planned Parenthood’s legacy and contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color
Divest from and dismantle white dominant organizational cultural norms and values
Adopt Individual and Institutional practices that value people of color
Center communities of color voice, experience and knowledge of self
Build accountable relationships with communities of color
“I am heartened by the decision by PPGNY to rename its Manhattan Health Center. While this comes at a time when the entire nation is reckoning with its sordid past and present realities of racial injustice, I am even more encouraged that this symbolic gesture is also accompanied by a deeper commitment to take even bolder steps toward institutional transformation,” said Dr. Lynn Roberts, Reviving Radical Commissioner & Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Alumni Relations, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy. “May this organization’s realization of these mandates serve as a guide to other organizations embarking on becoming anti-racist organizations not only in name, but in practice.”
Further plans on the renaming of the Health Center and street will be announced soon.
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is a leading provider, educator, and advocate of sexual and reproductive health care in New York State. PPGNY offers a wide range of services at its 30 locations across 65% of NYS - including gynecological care; birth control; cancer screenings; pregnancy testing; STI testing and treatment; HIV prevention, testing, and counseling; transgender hormone therapy; and vasectomy. In partnership with the City of New York and Health and Hospitals Corp, PPGNY will begin providing COVID-19 diagnostic testing to our communities in early to mid-August. PPGNY is also proud to provide abortion services to anyone who needs compassionate, non-judgmental care. PPGNY is a trusted source of medically accurate, evidence-based information that allows people to make informed decisions about their health and future. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPGNY supports legislation and policies that ensure all New Yorkers have access to the full range of reproductive health services and education.