Police brutality and state-sanctioned violence are systemic crises that endanger every Black person in this country, including Black people who seek abortion care and Black abortion care providers. Abortion Care Network understands that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience racist violence and oppression every day - the state-sanctioned violence we are seeing now is nothing new, but must be called out at every turn.
Abortion Care Network''s headquarters and over a third of our staff - including myself - are based in Minneapolis, where we are mourning the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others killed by police. The city we love and call home is in flames, staff and friends are displaced, access to food and supplies are limited, and our children are struggling to understand the military and white supremacist presence in our streets. But we are clear: Black lives matter, and any response to centuries of violence, brutality, and oppression is justified.
Minneapolis is resilient. We are seeing an outpouring of volunteers distributing food and supplies, neighbors coming together to support one another, and thousands of demonstrators who continue to hold ground to ensure justice. I have no doubt that our community will come together to rebuild the shops, restaurants, libraries and post offices that make Minneapolis great. But more importantly, I hope that individuals and community leaders across the entire US commit to the long-term work and deep investments necessary to eradicate the white supremacy that is systemic within all of our institutions - from police departments to our schools.
As a white leader, I do not know first hand the grief and trauma that Black people have endured for centuries. I do not know what it feels like to live with the oppression that Indigenous people and People of Color live with daily. A public statement is a limited tool, but one in which I can clearly say: Abortion Care Network is commited to doing the work of disrupting and undoing racism, to understanding the ways that White Supremacy shows up daily, and to ensuring that our work aligns with our values.
ACN believes that racism is the single most critical barrier to building an effective movement for social change. As an organization that works to support independent abortion clinics and their patients, it is crucial that each one of us understand that anti-abortion extremism and reproductive injustice are direct and purposeful results of white supremacy and systemic racism.
ACN understands that all forms of oppression are interconnected and interdependent. The anti-Black, racist forces that seek to dehumanize, devalue, and end Black lives are intertwined with those that seek to control people''s bodily autonomy.
Every person should be free to seek or provide abortion care safely. Every person should have the freedom to create and raise the families they dream of. Racism means that this is not the reality we face now.
Undoing oppression is not easy. It requires that we remain rooted in values, with an unwavering commitment to action and accountability. We see our members treading with empathy, holding complexity, and meeting rage with compassion. We hear them expressing their own grief, pain, exhaustion, hope, love, and solidarity. We see them showing up as their whole selves, with trust and respect for the lives and dignity of their patients and communities. These are the values that we think can help us find a way. We know that another world is possible because of our members, and we commit to working alongside them towards a just future.