Fighting Poverty with Passion
We have had a busy month at Women With A Vision where of our newest programs, the “Have Faith in Reproductive Justice”, finally reached a reporting and action milestone. The “Have Faith in Reproductive Justice” project was created to address the need for innovative community mobilization strategies to promote reproductive rights and reduce HIV/AIDS discrimination and exclusion. During the Summer and Fall of 2014, WWAV conducted six meetings with faith leaders and their congregations in the New Orleans area, focusing on sexual health education, HIV/AIDS awareness, and reproductive rights policy advocacy. All sessions were documented with video, audio and transcription which led to the creation of a ‘lessons-learned’ toolkit which can be used to replicate the project across the South.
WWAV believes that Black churches can be critical sites of mobilization for reproductive justice. Historically, churches have played a vital role in African American communities in New Orleans and across the Deep South, both as houses of worship and as homes to a range of social and community causes and issues. Nine of the top ten states for church attendance are in the South (Louisiana ranks fourth). Interventions in our region made at the level of the church promise to be able to reach communities through environments that are safe, trusted, and familiar. Furthermore, conservative coalitions and policy makers have routinely targeted African American faith communities, asking them to support programs and policies that are harmful to the reproductive health and rights of their female congregation members. In a political and social climate that is increasingly hostile to women’s health, reproductive rights, and sexual health education, this project will enable WWAV to shift the conversation. With the support of the Black Church, we will be able to deepen community understanding of the toll of HIV/AIDS in communities of color and the impact of retrogressive reproductive health policies on Black female and youth populations.
In addition to our “Have Faith in Reproductive Justice Project”, WWAV is happy to announce the launch of our new initiative BLAC: The Black LGBTQ Action Coalition. With a regional grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, WWAV is partnering with our ally Mississippi In Action (out of Jackson, MS.) to organize Black LGBTQ people throughout Louisiana and Mississippi and to support those individuals in advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness and accessible healthcare, civil rights, and against health disparities affecting African-Americans and LGBTQ people in the Southern United States. Our first meeting is coming up soon on April 9th at 6pm at the WWAV Offices (1001 South Broad St, Ste 206). Please call 504.301.0428 or email Mwende@wwav-no.org for more information on the program!
**BLAC is open to all Black LGB, Transgender, Queer & same gender loving people living in the U.S. South over the age of 18.