A reminder POST: Tell your District Attorney: Don’t enforce abortion bans. Don’t criminalize pregnancy – Sign the Petition

We are in the midst of a coordinated and well-planned attack on reproductive freedom.

Abortion bans in 16 states are threatening to jail and punish pregnant people, scrutinizing every decision a pregnant person makes about their bodies. These laws are a violation of constitutional and human rights and do not uphold the sanctity of life in the slightest.

Abortion bans put pregnant people’s lives at risk. And we know Black, women, trans and gender-nonconforming folks are particularly vulnerable. Black women are already seen as less than human, purveyors of criminality, and unable to make decisions regarding our reproductive health. This perception along with other societal and health system factors is why Black women face the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the country–which makes them even more susceptible to criminalization for their pregnancy outcomes. It’s been happening before the bans in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were even passed. Right now in Mississippi, Latice Fisher, a young Black mother who was charged with 2nd-degree murder after having a still birth, is fighting for her freedom as she faces life imprisonment and separation from her children. But things could be a lot different for Latice if the District Attorney had never charged her in the first place.

Law enforcement should never be involved in a pregnancy decision. And DAs have the discretion to keep their prosecutors out of maternal health matters. In the wake of the onslaught of abortion ban laws passing, some district attorneys are already taking a stand. District Attorneys across Georgia are refusing to enforce its unconstitutional abortion ban and Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill has declared that he will not enforce a Utah measure banning abortions after 18 weeks. Here’s why: criminalization discourages women who want an abortion or are experiencing pregnancy loss or complications from seeking medical care for fear of arrest and punishment.

Black women die from pregnancy complications at 3 to 4 times the rate of white women. And we cannot afford to add incarceration to the list of reasons our people avoid seeking medical care. That’s why we’re calling on district attorneys across the country to use their discretion and refuse to prosecute abortion, pregnancy loss or any other pregnancy decision. With your help, as a part of our national movement to hold prosecutors accountable to their communities, we can push them to uphold real justice and let women, trans and gender non-conforming people make their own decisions for their own bodies. Will you sign the petition to push your district attorney in the right direction?

Here is the Petition:
To local prosecutors:

We are calling on you to refuse to enforce laws that criminalize women based on their pregnancy outcomes and use your discretion to decline to prosecute. We urge you to create and advocate for safer and better policies and solutions to that uphold a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom.

Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill has stated that he will not enforce a Utah measure banning abortions after 18 weeks. We are calling on you to take on this same level of leadership, and not give in to extremist political pressure that would restrict a woman’s basic rights and bodily freedom.
As a prosecutor, you have the power and responsibility to enact policies and infrastructure that would discourage police officers from making arrests of pregnant women based on the circumstances of their births and remove the fear that an abortion, miscarriage, stillborn, or other possible variation of a pregnancy outcome could result in a prison sentence. We are calling on you to take a proactive stand and end the practice of criminalizing women based on their pregnancy outcomes.

Now is your chance to take the right step in enforcing full humane lives for women.


Until justice is real,
–Clarise, Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Erika, Kristen M., Marybeth, Marena, Leonard, Kristen P., Madison, Tamar and the rest of the Color Of Change team
1. “Alabama’s anti-abortion law isn’t alone. Here are all the states pushing to restrict access.” CNN, 16 May 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135858?t=13&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
2. “Mississippi Woman Criminally Charged for Pregnancy Outcome After Home Birth (Updated).” Rewire News, 6 February 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135859?t=15&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
3. “District attorneys from across metro Atlanta say they won’t prosecute women for abortions.” 11 Alive, 17 May 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135860?t=17&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
4. “Salt Lake district attorney says he won’t enforce Utah’s abortion ban.” The Hill, 15 May 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135861?t=19&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
5. Reproductive Health. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 February 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135871?t=21&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
6. “Report: Criminalizing Pregnancy a ‘Noose Around Your Neck.’” Rewire News, 23 May 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135863?t=23&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
7. “Women’s Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018.” Prison Policy Initiative, 13 November 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135862?t=25&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
8. Ibid.
9. “The History Of American Slavery: “Good Breeders.” Slate, 24 August 2015. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135867?t=27&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
10. ‘Father Of Gynecology,’ Who Experimented On Slaves, No Longer On Pedestal In NYC.” NPR, 17 August 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135868?t=29&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf)
11. “Forced and Coerced Sterilization: The Nightmare of Transgender and Intersex Individuals.” Impakter, 4 February 2016. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135869?t=31&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
12. “The Moynihan Report Is Turning 50. Its Ideas on Black Poverty Were Wrong Then and Are Wrong Now.” In These Times, 30 June 2015. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/135864?t=33&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf
13. Ibid.
14. “Black women and the fight for abortion rights: How this brochure sparked the movement for reproductive freedom.” MSNBC, 25 March 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/135870?t=35&akid=31971%2E1174326%2EUewegf


Help us show the frontline medical staff at Johns Hopkins how much we appreciate their service


Across the country, frontline medical staff are working overtime to ensure our communities are safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic (also known as coronavirus). Every day, the frontline hospital staff at Johns Hopkins, for example, put their lives at risk to treat the growing number of people with coronavirus. Johns Hopkins is not only a world-renowned hospital, but it is a hospital that serves a tremendous number of Black people in Baltimore. And because of their dedication to our community, and the sacrifices they are making to keep treating people, we want to show the medical staff — particularly working class staff like orderlies, nurses, and cleaning staff — at John Hopkins how grateful we are for their service.

Frontline medical staff are heroes. So, we’d like to provide help where we can, by contributing healthy snacks, coffee, and energy drinks to the staff at Johns Hopkins, who serve one of the most high-density, low-income Black communities in the country.

CONTRIBUTE NOW and help us raise $5000 to provide care packages for the frontline medical staff who are working overtime to protect us during the spread of coronavirus.


The Amistad Travels To Cuba As A Reminder Of Slavery


Post by Jerry Smith in National

a repost from 2010 – Black History Month

WASHINGTON – Days from now, a stately black schooner will sail through a narrow channel into Havana’s protected harbor, its two masts bearing the rarest of sights — the U.S. Stars and Stripes, with the Cuban flag fluttering nearby.

The ship is the Amistad, a U.S.-flagged vessel headed for largely forbidden Cuban waters as a symbol of both a dark 19th century past and modern public diplomacy.

The Amistad is the 10-year-old official tall ship of the state of Connecticut and a replica of the Cuban coastal trader that sailed from Havana in 1839 with a cargo of African captives, only to become an emblem of the abolitionist movement.

Its 10-day, two-city tour of Cuba provides a counterpoint to new and lingering tensions between Washington and Havana and stands out as a high-profile exception to the 47-year-old U.S. embargo of the Caribbean island.

For the Amistad, it also represents a final link as it retraces the old Atlantic slave trade triangle, making port calls that are not only reminders of the stain of slavery but also celebrations of the shared cultural legacies of an otherwise sorry past.

When it drops anchor in Havana’s harbor on March 25, the Amistad will not only observe its 10th anniversary, it will commemorate the day in 1807 when the British Parliament first outlawed the slave trade.

The powerful image of a vessel displaying home and host flags docking in Cuba is not lost on Gregory Belanger, the CEO and president of Amistad America Inc., the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the ship.

“We’re completely aware of all of the issues currently surrounding the U.S. and Cuba,” he said. “But we approach this from the point of view that we have this unique history that both societies are connected by. It gives us an opportunity to transcend contemporary issues.”

It’s not lost on Rep. William Delahunt, either. The Massachusetts Democrat has long worked to ease U.S.-Cuba relations and he reached out to the State Department to make officials aware of the Amistad’s proposal.

U.S.-flagged ships have docked in Havana before, but none as prominently as the Amistad. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has periodically approved Cuba stops for semester-at-sea educational programs for American students, and the Commerce Department has authorized U.S. shiploads of exports under agriculture and medical exemptions provided in the Trade Sanctions Reform Act of 2000.

“Obviously we have serious differences, disagreements,” Delahunt said. “But in this particular case the two governments, while not working together, clearly were aware of the profound significance of this particular commemoration.”

The original Amistad’s story, the subject of a 1997 Steven Spielberg movie, began after it set sail from Havana in 1839. Its African captives rebelled, taking over the ship and sending it on a zigzag course up the U.S. coast until it was finally seized off the coast of Long Island. The captured Africans became an international cause for abolitionists; their fate was finally decided in 1841 when John Quincy Adams argued their case before the Supreme Court, which granted them their freedom.

Miguel Barnet, a leading Cuban ethnographer and writer who has studied the African diaspora, said it is only appropriate that the new Amistad would call on the place of the original ship’s birth. Indeed, he said in an interview from Cuba on Wednesday, it is the horror of the slave trade that left behind a rich common bond — not just between the United States and Cuba, but with the rest of the Caribbean — that is rooted in Africa.

“That’s why this is an homage to these men and women who left something precious for our culture,” he said.

The new Amistad has crossed the Atlantic and wended its way through the Caribbean since 2007. It has worked with the United Nations and UNESCO’s Slave Route Project. Using high technology hidden in its wooden frame and rigging, the ship’s crew of sailors and students has simulcasted to schools and even to the U.N. General Assembly.

It will do so again — with Cuban students — from Havana.