34 Facts About SisterSong


SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, known as SisterSong, is a national activist organization dedicated to reproductive justice for women of color.

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SisterSong has built a movement that now includes many independent organizations across the country, and they remain a movement thought leader, trainer, convener, organizer, and collaboration facilitator.

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SisterSong was founded in 1997 by 16 women-of-color-led organizations representing African American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latinx, and Indigenous women, the same populations represented in WOCCRHR.

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Attendees decided to use the opportunity of these convenings to form a national collective of independent organizations that would help them all to achieve greater impact, and SisterSong was born with Luz Rodriguez as its first leader.

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SisterSong was a volunteer-run network until 2005, when they opened a national office in Atlanta and hired their first staff with funding from the Ford Foundation and the Moriah Fund.

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SisterSong is strategically sited in the Deep South because they feel that this is where the rights of women of color are most threatened.

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In 2016, SisterSong opened a second office in North Carolina focused on building a state-based reproductive justice movement there.

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SisterSong was particularly involved in launching New Voices for Reproductive Justice in 2004, Milwaukee Reproductive Justice Coalition in 2008, and Black Mamas Matter Alliance in 2017.

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In 2005, SisterSong partnered with Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice to host the first Funders' Briefing on Reproductive Justice, specifically to explain the framework to foundations and persuade them to support movement organizations.

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SisterSong has influenced Planned Parenthood, the Unitarian Universalist Association of America, and the National Council of Jewish Women to engage in reproductive justice activism, and they have presented before the United Nations and state legislators and at the White House during the Obama administration.

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In 2003, SisterSong hosted the first national conference on reproductive justice organized by women of color at Spelman College in Atlanta with over 600 attendees.

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From 2004 to 2012, SisterSong published over a dozen issues of Collective Voices, the first reproductive justice news magazine.

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In 2015, SisterSong relaunched Collective Voices as a free monthly webinar series with reproductive justice leaders talking about the intersections between reproductive justice and other topics.

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In 2004, SisterSong influenced the March for Choice to expand its agenda and become the March for Women's Lives; it was the largest march in US history, with 1.

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In 2009, SisterSong organized over 300 women of color to visit 40 legislators' offices on Capitol Hill to argue for abortion access and for immigrants' healthcare access during healthcare debates.

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In 2010, SisterSong created the Trust Black Women partnership to change how the United States views black women by elevating black women's voices to eliminate stereotypes.

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SisterSong disagreed with the accusation against Planned Parenthood and felt that the campaign was claiming that black women have a racial obligation to have babies, which overrides their personal desires and needs.

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SisterSong believed these efforts were seeking to divide black voters by gender and pro-choice voters by race, as well as to use anti-immigrant sentiments to bolster anti-abortion work by accusing Asian American women of aborting female fetuses due to son preference.

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SisterSong claimed that the bill would have led to racial profiling and intrusive interrogation of black and Asian American women seeking abortions, and that it would have violated patient confidentiality and made providers afraid to provide services because they could be criminalized.

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SisterSong convened the Trust Black Women Partnership with nine black-women-led organizations to fight the billboards and abortion restriction bill, and the group defeated both.

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In 2010, SisterSong launched the Southern RJ Network because they felt that reproductive freedom was especially under attack in the South, making collaboration among reproductive justice groups particularly critical across the region.

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In 2014, SisterSong expanded common perceptions of what constitutes a reproductive justice issue by hosting the Standing Our Ground for Marissa Alexander Summit in Jacksonville, Florida.

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SisterSong published articles that called this as a reproductive justice issue, saying that Alexander was imprisoned and separated from her children as punishment for defending herself and them from an abuser.

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Garza has continued to highlight the work of Trust Black Women and SisterSong, including a 2019 article about activism in the face of Georgia and Alabama's abortion bans.

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SisterSong invited SisterSong to bring a group of reproductive justice leaders to discuss how Planned Parenthood could do more to support reproductive justice organizations.

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In 2014, SisterSong partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health on a study about the high maternal mortality rates among Southern women of color, especially Black women.

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SisterSong then spoke about the issue at the 2015 Women in the World Summit.

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In 2016, SisterSong launched the Artists United for RJ program to facilitate artists of color to create collaborative, replicable artwork to advance reproductive justice.

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In 2016, SisterSong opened a second office in North Carolina, where there were previously no reproductive justice organizations.

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In February 2018, SisterSong began advocating for a review of a North Carolina Department of Public Safety policies that allows for pregnant inmates to be shackled to a hospital bed while in labor.

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In 2019, SisterSong acted as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Georgia legislators for passing a six-week abortion ban, which bans abortion before most women even know they are pregnant.

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SisterSong is involved in the Over the Counter Contraception Working Group and the All* Above All Campaign to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from supporting abortion services, which means that women on public healthcare, federal employees, and others cannot receive healthcare coverage for abortions.

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In 2018, SisterSong co-founded the Southeast Alliance for Reproductive Equity with SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, Healthy and Free TN, and Women's Rights Empowerment Network.

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Also in 2018, SisterSong co-founded a collaboration to combat religious exemption laws with Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Women Engaged, and Georgia Equality.

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