Everyone Must Have the Ability to Parent Children and Create, Sustain, and Define Families Free from the Terrors of Policing and Criminalization.

A statement from If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.

Communities across the country are rising up — again — against racist police killings. Black people are — again — putting their lives on the line, this time during a global pandemic, and facing violent, militarized police who have gone on the attack with weapons of war against the people they are supposedly sworn to protect. 

As lawyers, advocates, and organizers working at the intersection of the law and reproductive justice, we know that policing is fundamentally a white supremacist enterprise, just one part of a racist criminal (in)justice system built to protect whiteness and white property.

In lawyering for reproductive justice, we hold at the heart of our work the core belief that reproductive justice is racial justice. We also believe a transformation of the legal systems and institutions that perpetuate oppression into structures that realize justice is possible. All of us deserve to be able to self-determine our reproductive lives and futures, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence. This includes having the ability to parent children and create, sustain, and define our families free from the terrors of policing and criminalization

Our staff members live across the country and bring a multitude of identities and lived experiences to this work. Some of us are grieving and angry on behalf of ourselves and our families; others on behalf of our loved ones and communities. We say the names of those whose deaths at the hands of police have inspired demonstrations and outpourings of support in the past week: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. We also say the names of some of the Black people and people of color in our local geographies who have been killed by police — we recognize that we cannot know or name them all.

  • In Ann Arbor, Michigan: Aura Rosser 
  • In Austin, Texas: Mike Ramos, Larry Jackson, Jr., David Joseph, Michael Dean (Temple, TX) 
  • In Charleston, South Carolina: Walter Scott, Levar Jones
  • In Las Vegas, Nevada: Sharmel Edwards, Orlando Barlow
  • In Los Angeles, California: Kenneth Ross Jr., Grechario Mack, Redel Jones, Wakiesha Wilson, Albert Ramon Dorsey, Brendon Glenn, Charly “Africa” Keunang, Kisha Michael, Anthony Vargas, Jose Mendez, Jesse Romero, Cesar Rodriguez, Christian Escobedo, Omar Gonzalez, and more
  • In New York City, New York: Eric Garner, Deborah Danner, Akai Gurley, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Amidou Diallo, and more
  • In Oakland, California: Oscar Grant, Yonas Alehegne, Yuvette Henderson, Demouria Hogg, Richard Linyard
  • In Phoenix, Arizona: Dion Johnson, Elijah Boatley, Antonio Arce, Robert Rabago, Andres Nevare, Loreal Tsingine, Michelle Cusseaux, and more.  
  • In San Francisco, California: Mario Woods, Jessica Williams, Aaron Nieto, Luis Gongora Pat, 
  • In Sacramento, California: Stephon Clark
  • In Santa Rosa, California: Andy Lopez
  • In Seattle, Washington: Charleena Lyles, Che’ Taylor, Said Joquin (Lakewood, WA), John T. Williams
  • In Washington, D.C.: D’Quan Young, Jeff Price, Terrence Sterling, Marquese Alston

We also specifically recognize that it is critically urgent — and long has been — for white people to do the work of dismantling white supremacy, daily living in anti-racist practice, and challenging and inviting other white people to become co-conspirators against racism and white supremacy. We encourage white co-conspirators in the If/When/How community to, first and foremost, take on the work of anti-racism without putting the onus on people of color to offer explanations, education, or emotional support. 

The days and nights are especially long and difficult right now, but we take heart in knowing that the If/When/How community — current and former law students, lawyers, advocates, organizers, policy experts, activists, and so many more — are everywhere, from the streets to state houses, working to make racial and reproductive justice a reality for all.

Please read on for a growing compilation of resources and organizations to support in this moment and beyond, compiled by If/When/How staff members.

Bail funds, racial justice organizations, and groups working to end police violence — become a monthly sustaining member if you can — as well as direct ways to contribute to the #DefundPolice movement in your local area: