Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest’s vision is a world where access to health care doesn’t depend on who you are or where you live, and where everyone has the opportunity to choose their own path to a healthy and meaningful life. To make this vision a reality, it is not enough to simply continue our existing equity and reproductive justice work; we must commit to specific actions to support Black communities in our region.
Racism is a public health crisis. Public health by definition is built on the principle of saving lives and there has been no greater threat to Black lives than violence — from blatant police brutality, to centuries of policies that have systematically oppressed Black people, to individual acts rooted in racism and white supremacy culture.
- We must confront how white supremacy of the past and present continue in the institutions we are a part of today — including our own organization.
- We acknowledge how the faults in our history have manifested today, including the implicit bias within our own organization, and recognize that this is part of the problem.
- We acknowledge that for decades, Black organizations and leaders, especially Black women, have been leading the work to advance racial and reproductive justice, and this commitment is meant to honor their calls to action.
Today we commit to the following three actions:
1. We will dismantle systems of privilege and oppression within Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. This includes addressing the history of racism in sexual and reproductive health care and Planned Parenthood’s past. This means:
- Educating ourselves and our supporters about Margaret Sanger’s connection to the eugenics movement and Planned Parenthood’s history of de-valuing the lived experience of Black women and femmes
- Ensuring our policies, practices, and structures create a safer, more supportive, and equitable environment for Black staff, patients, and community members
- Expanding and reinforcing unconscious bias and other training for our staff, Board, and supporters
- Creating space to explore how white supremacy culture, anti-Blackness, and systems of privilege and oppression show up in the health care system, including our organization
- Supporting staff and supporters in the hard work of self-reflection and self-education
- Launching structured opportunities for staff to connect, share, and learn about their identities and experiences, such as Employee Resource Groups
2. We will focus on the health disparities that affect Black people in our region as we continue promoting health equity. This includes:
- Working with patient and community advisors to better understand the needs of Black communities, and how Blackness intersects with other identities
- Identifying disparities and unmet needs among our own patients through quality and patient satisfaction data
- Using a race equity lens when locating centers and services
3. We will use our advocacy power and resources to support, elevate, and center Black-led and anti-racism organizations who are leading the way. This includes:
- Joining our national office and local partners to call for a shift from a militarized police force to a model that prioritizes community-based solutions, education, and health care
- Contributing significant financial and other resources to Black-led organizations building social and economic power in Black communities, and also organizations doing anti-racism work
- Identifying organizational structures and processes (e.g. vendor selection, partnerships, advocacy decisions) where we can better embed anti-racism work
- Using our resources and platforms to promote Black-led and anti-racism organizations in our region and to engage staff and supporters in this work
This is the next step in our work to build a more equitable and just organization, movement, and society, and we recognize there is more we will need to do. If Black people are unable to exercise bodily autonomy, to live their daily lives — or protest the violence against their lives — without the fear of violence or murder, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.