In 1994, a group of 12 brilliant Black women (Dr. Toni M. Bond Leonard, Reverend Alma Crawford, Evelyn S. Field, Terri James, Bisola Marignay, Cassandra McConnell, Cynthia Newbille, Lorretta Ross, Elizabeth Terry, ‘Able’ Mable Thomas, Winnette P. Willis, and Kim Youngblood), gathered in Chicago to respond to a problematic proposal on health care reform. They were concerned because the proposal failed to fully understand how other factors like income, housing, and the criminal justice system constrained the “choices” Black women had when it came to parenting and reproductive care. Together they coined the term reproductive justice, which offers an intersection, inclusive approach to addressing the reproductive needs of Black women and other communities of color.
Today, the reproductive justice movement continues to grow and push us to address the root cause of injustices impacting the health of Black women, gender non-conforming, LGBTQIA+ people, and families because we deserve not just to live but to thrive. I am grateful for the visionary work of the founding mothers of the reproductive justice movement that fought and continues to fight, to ensure those most impacted by health injustices are centered in the solution.
The EverThrive IL team is working hard every day, to honor their legacy and continue to advance reproductive justice in Illinois. We envision a future in which every Illinoisan has the health care, resources, and support necessary to determine if, when, and how to become a parent and raise their family in a safe and sustainable community. It’s a right we all deserve, and we won’t stop fighting until this is a reality for all.