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The Afiya Center understands that the reproductive justice framework is the driving force behind sexual and reproductive rights for Black women. By utilizing this multi-pronged framework, The Afiya Center continues to bring awareness to the connections between reproductive oppression and the increased risk of transmission of HIV to women of color. Additionally, The Afiya Center believes that reproductive justice is a platform to create advocacy that is informed, self-actualized, and protects women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice. We are proud to be the creators of Texas’s First Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Policy Summit. Texas Black women have grown tired of being left out of the conversations being had about their bodies and for that reason, The Afiya Center has taken the charge to amplify their voices and spearhead the First Ever Texas Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Policy Summit. The purpose of the summit was to create a convening of Black women in Texas who can lead the conversation on the critical issues surrounding Black women, reproductive rights, and the abortion movement. The big vision is to bring in new allies and resources for Black women living in Texas and provide a framework to implement in their respective districts, communities, and organizations.
The Afiya Center was founded in response to the absence of programs to assist marginalized women living in poverty who are at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. It embraces the reproductive justice framework as the most effective means for tackling this dual epidemic. The founder of The Afiya Center said it best to Ebony Magazine recently when she noted, "I want to see Black people take ownership of HIV—YES ownership. And I don't mean that in a negative or shameful way, but one that is about controlling our destiny. Because when one takes ownership of an issue, they then begin to put in place mechanisms to assure the best outcomes for that situation. Black people carry a disproportionate burden of HIV and have a shorter survival rate than any other racial or ethnic group. Therefore, ending HIV in the Black community must become a collective effort and not a targeted one that only focuses on Black gay men and heterosexual Black women. We all need to be alarmed at what is happening to us, ending the divisiveness, demanding that policy leaders stop playing politics with our lives and continue to advocate for ourselves. Because if we don't save us, who will?"
The Afiya Center has long recognized that for Black women there is a perceived double standard: we are stigmatized when we have children and are further shamed and stigmatized when we seek abortions. We are ready to expand our advocacy efforts to ensure all Texas women are truly supported — no matter her choice. The Afiya Center is a proud participant of the Trust. Respect. Access. Coalition — a multi-year campaign to promote policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect the dignity of Texans and the judgment of health care professionals, and ensure access to abortion and the support all Texas families need to thrive. Go to Trust. Respect. Access to learn more about this unprecedented, coordinated campaign aims to shift the policy climate around abortion access in Texas, to educate the public about the harm caused by decades of anti-abortion laws, and to hold lawmakers accountable for political attacks on reproductive health care.
A recent study found that after 2010, the “reported maternal mortality rate for Texas doubled within a two-year period to levels not seen in other U.S. states.” In the state of Texas, black women bear the greatest risk of maternal death. This is because Black women continue to be ignored in policy conversations. Our legislators are so concerned with controlling women’s reproductive rights that they refuse to acknowledge the harm that they are doing to this state’s most marginalized women. Over the past eight years, The Afiya Center has participated in four consecutive Legislative Sessions where Texas lawmakers consistently presented and passed legislation that has had a devastating impact on women’s quality of life by limiting their reproductive choices. The limiting of reproductive choices has been especially harmful to Black women in Texas and The Afiya Center believes the continued funding cuts and unreasonable restrictions upon women's access to healthcare have resulted in poor maternal health outcomes for Black women. Through an intersectional report prepared by The Afiya Center called "The State of Black Women in Texas," we seek to highlight ways in which the current political climate has created socioeconomic and health disparities that exist among Black women in Texas.