FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sponsoring Organizations: SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, SisterLove, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Racial Justice Action Center, Georgia WAND, Kindred Collective, Southerners on New Ground, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
May 29, 2015 - ATLANTA, GEORGIA - A coalition of Atlanta-based reproductive justice and reproductive health organizations – organized by SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective & Trust Black Women have joined forces to defeat Pro-Life Across America ‘s anti-choice billboard campaign targeting Black women and Black communities in Atlanta, GA. SisterSong, in collaboration with other social justice organizations will host a community town hall meeting on June 4, 2015 at their offices located at 1237 Ralph David Abernthay Blvd, SW to raise community awareness, to hear the concerns from Black women in the community impacted by the billboard and to strategize grassroots solutions to prevent future visual media attacks on reproductive self-determination in our city and state in the future. The press conference will begin at 6:30pm followed by the town hall meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Activists have identified billboards are located at the following intersections: Lee St. SW at White St. SW, Alison Ct. SW at Delowe Dr. and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW at Pryor St. SW.
The current anti-choice billboard campaign erected in past weeks feature a large image of a young, vibrant Black child overlain with brightly colored statement, stating “Dad’s Princess,” and a reminder that an embryo has a “Heartbeat at #18 Days. The billboard at the intersection of Alison Ct. and Delowe features a white child with the messaging that an unborn child can hear their mother’s voice before they are born.
”These billboards are nothing more than a consistent attempt to instill fear and shame around making our own decisions about what is best for our bodies and families, “ commented Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
”Reproductive justice exists when all people can fully and freely exercise autonomy over their own bodies, relationships, and families – and that this includes the basic human right to have children, not to have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments, “ said Simpson “The current billboard messaging and placement in predominantly Black communities is an open attack on Black women’s bodily autonomy and self-determination. We know that the use of manipulative anti-abortion media that erases Black women is also a powerful way to attack Black women, to vilify those who do not carry their pregnancies to term, and to stigmatize abortion in general. We will not look the other way as they attack Black women in our city. We must also ensure these billboards do not spread to other communities of color. These billboards must go,” commented Simpson.
Cherisse Scott, Founder and CEO of SisterReach, a Memphis based Reproductive Justice organization and founding member of Trust Black Women successfully defeated Pro-Life America by getting their billboards removed from their city and stands in solidarity with Black women in Atlanta. She states, “We stand in solidarity with SisterSong against this anti-woman, pro-birth campaign targeting Black fathers. We are clear that the campaign is disingenuous and that Pro-Life Across America is not invested in the Georgia communities which it has erected these racist and inflammatory billboards. This divisive campaign only highlights the egregious motives of Prolife Across America rather than their willingness to work with communities to change the lived conditions of the people within them.”
This latest billboard campaign is the latest incarnation of an ongoing visual media strategy advanced by conservative groups to discredit and invalidate women’s human right to choose not to have a child. In SisterSong's successful 2010 campaign against a similar billboard campaign in Atlanta, initiated by the Radiance Foundation.