From our Executive Director, Kellie Copeland:

On August 28, 2020, like countless others, I watched the Black National Convention online. It was a stunningly beautiful, uplifting, and powerful event organized by more than 150 Black groups, It was inspired by the 1972 Black National Political Convention in Gary, Indiana. And the timing was no accident. August 28th has repeatedly been a date when major events impacting the Black community have occurred, from the brutal murder of Emmett Till in 1955, to the inspiring March on Washington in 1963, to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The convention started at 7PM, but I tuned in early to watch La’Tasha Mayes, founder, president, and CEO of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, speak during the “red carpet” about the important of reproductive justice. New Voices, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation, the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Preterm have been partners for the last four years in a project we jointly created called Patients to Advocates. This project is a paid leadership development program which prepares persons who have had abortions for civic engagement around reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Let me tell you, Mayes didn’t disappoint — she never does. My heart soared watching Mayes and other powerful leaders in the reproductive justice movement speak about the importance of having the personal bodily autonomy, to have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.

The speakers, discussions and production were breathtaking. We heard from leaders like Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement; Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network; Bree Newsome, artist and activist; as well as brilliant local organizers and academic leaders from every corner of America. They looked at everything from climate catastrophes to police brutality, mental health, cooking demonstrations, music, toxic masculinity, and violence against trans people. I was struck by the love and compassion that was on full display throughout the convention.

If you didn’t tune in on August 28th, don’t fear, you haven’t missed your chance. You can watch the Black National Convention at https://blacknovember.org/. La’Tasha Mayes remarks start at 1:06 into the recording, and the convention itself starts at 1:59. You can also read the conversation on Twitter at #BlackNationalConvention.

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