The Present: Change Makers and Doers Who Are Transforming Black Communities
Today, Black History Month serves as one of our nation’s greatest reminders of the historical and contemporary contributions of Black Americans to American and global society.
That’s why Planned Parenthood is lifting up these leaders, who epitomize #BlackExcellence. Whether they are building power in the streets or impacting legislation in the halls of power, the work of these foot soldiers is pushing us toward a brighter and more just world.
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD
President, American Public Health Association
Dr. Jones is a scholar, family physician, and epidemiologist, whose work focuses on the impact of racism on the health and well-being of the nation.
Rep. Maxine Waters
Congresswoman, D-CA 43rd District
Since arriving in office in 1990, Congresswoman Waters has voted in the best interest of the health of women and communities of color, making a career of addressing these issues by closing the wealth gap.
Rep. John Lewis
Congressman, D-GA 5th District
In office since 1986, Congressman John Lewis has always voted for pro-women's health legislation.
Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Webber
Dr. Shirley Webber is a reproductive health advocate and has championed proactive sex ed legislation recently signed into law.
Bishop Yvette Flunder
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder is founder and Senior Pastor of the City of Refuge UCC and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship. Dr. Flunder is a prominent activist on women’s issues, immigration, LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS advocacy.
Southern Regional Director, CDF-SRO
Oleta Fitzgerald is the Director for Children's Defense Fund - Southern Regional Office and the Regional Administrator for the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative for Economic & Social Justice (SRBWI). She has dedicated her life to fighting for economic justice for Black women and girls.
Rep. Elijah Cummings
Congressman, D-MD 7th District
Though Congressman Cummings has always been a strong supporter of women's health legislation, in 2015 he stood up for our patients and PP during the grueling 4.5 hour OGR hearing with Cecile Richards.
As ranking member of the committee he also sent a letter to CMP requesting information about whether the group broke federal or statee laws during its multi-year effort to establish a fakes company, solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization and secretly record videos of Planned Parenthood employees without their consent. The Congressman has continually been vocal in his support for PP and the women we serve.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Congresswoman, D-TX 18th District
Congresswoman Jackson Lee has been a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood and women's health.
This year she has become a valuable champion as a member of the House Judiciary committee, where she was vocal at both hearings displaying a clear understanding of the important rolel our clinics play in the communities we serve. She also came to the floor on several occasions and attended our press conference, lending her voice in the fight against backwards legislation.
Del. Stacey Plaskett
Delegate Stacey Plaskett became a supporter of Planned Parenthood this year when she spoke out for our patients during the OGR hearing, where she is a member, commenting that she would like a clinic in the Virgin Islands.
John Conyers Jr.
Congressman, D-MI 13th District
Congressman John Conyers has been an active supporter of women's health during his tenure in Congress, co-sponsoring legislation, signing onto pro-letters and always voting in the interest of women's health. This year he spoke out against Born-Alive legislation that would add new criminal penalties against doctors and clinicians as a scare tactic.
Additionally he serves as a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, where he was vocal in his support for Planned Parenthood and the services we provide during 2 hearings in 2015.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
As a fierce, passionate, Black feminist and reproductive health advocate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has supported Planned Parenthood unwaveringly.
She also sponsored the EACH Woman Act and, in 2015, held an event with young women on abortion access.
Rep. Corrine Brown
Congresswoman, D-FL 5th District
Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been outspoken on the floor and has been outspoken in her support of PP in support of Planned Parenthood and all the work we do for our patients.
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Congresswoman, D-OH 3rd District
Congresswoman Beatty has been an active supporter of women's health during his tenure in congress, cosponsoring legislation, signing onto pro-letters and always voting in the interest of women's health.
Model, Fashion Designer, Actress
Author and icon Amber Rose has broken the internet more times than we can count.
From her sex-positive Slut Walk in 2015 to her brilliant clapbacks at misogynoir, Amber Rose has made feminism more accessible to those who are consistently left out of feminist discourse.
Rep. Nikki Randall
State Representative, D - Macon, District 142
Georgian Representative Nikki Randall (D-142) is a reproductive health advocate who championed the Planned Parenthood solidarity statement by National Council of Black State Legislators.
Dr. Raphael Warnock
Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church
Rev. Raphael Warnock is the Senior Pastor at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. He's been a staunch advocate for Medicaid Expansion and leading the charge through Moral Monday's Georgia, even getting arrested from at a peaceful sit in.
Rev. Warnock is also an advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS and works tirelessly on voting rights issues
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw
Scholar, Professor at the UCLA and Columbia Schools of Law
A feminist scholar and writer, who coined the term "Intersectionality." Kimberlé is the co-founder of the African American Policy Forum which developed seminal research on Black women and girls and the school-to-prison pipeline and policing, respectively: "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected" and "Say Her Name."
Co-Director of GetEqual
Serving as the Co-Director of GetEqual, Angela is working to ensure that Black lives and gender justice is a guiding force in LGBTQ work.
Reproductive Justice Leader
Jazmine is a big fine woman who specializes in reproductive justice and agricultural economic development.
Her dedication to public scholarship and activism is driven by a passion to amplify feminist and reproductive justice discourse around black women and girls, especially those in Mississippi and the broader South.
Senior Legal Analyst at RH Reality Check
Imani is a recovering attorney turned political blogger, journalist, and women's rights activist. She is the founder of Angry Black Lady Chronicles, winner of the 2010 Black Weblog Award for Blog to Watch, and the 2012 Black Weblog Award for Best Political Blog.
She is currently co-host of This Week in Blackness Prime. Her work has been featured at The Grio.com, AlterNet, and she appears regularly on a variety of progressive radio shows and podcasts. She received her J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law in 2001, where she was a Hardy Cross Dillard scholar and an Editorial Board member of the University of Virginia Law Review.
Historian, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of TransGriot
Monica Roberts, aka the TransGriot, is a native Houstonian and trailblazing trans community leader.
She works diligently at educating and encouraging acceptance of trans people inside and outside the larger African-American community and is an award winning blogger, history buff, thinker, lecturer and passionate advocate on trans issues.
Comedian and Journalist
Trevor Noah is a journalist, an internationally renowned comedian, and the first Black host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
Since taking the helm of the show in 2015, he has brought a common sense approach to #BlackLivesMatter, racial justice and reproductive rights, cutting through political rhetoric with humor and wit
Executive Director, Black Women's Blueprint
Farah Tanis is a transnational feminist and human rights activist. She is co-founder and executive director of the Black feminist organization Black Women’s Blueprint.
She launched and chairs the The Black Women Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first organization of its kind in the U.S. to focus on Black women and their historical and contemporary experiences with sexual assault.
Author and Political Analyst
Donna Brazile is a savvy political analyst, author and one of the inaugural members of African Americans For Reproductive Freedom.African Americans Women For Reproductive Freedom
Dr. Cathy Cohen
Dr. Cathy J Cohen is a Black feminist author, social activist and professor of political science at the University of Chicago. She was a founding board member and former co-chair of the board of the Audre Lorde Project in NY, a founding member of Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM!), and one of the core organizers of two international conferences “Black Nations / Queer Nations?” and “Race, Sex, Power.”
Dr. Cohen has also served as an active member in numerous organizations such as the Black Radical Congress, African American Women in Defense of Ourselves, and Ella’s Daughters. She is also the founder of the Black Youth Project which put out the seminal report on Black Millennials’ political priorities.
Educator; Advocate; Government Affairs Specialist
In addition to being an educator, the founder of Politini, and a Planned Parenthood supporter, Danielle has dedicated her career to promoting social justice.
Organizer, funder and writer Nakisha Lewis' passion for the health, safety and well-being of Black women and girls is has led her to co-organize the #BlackLivesMatter ride to Ferguson.
She has also helped fund instrumental research such as Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, which serves as fundamental reading on how Black girls are treated in schools.
Dr. Dorothy Roberts
Author, Scholar, Professor
Dorothy Roberts is an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law. Her books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997) which have shaped and informed scholarship around reproductive justice.
Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks is a dynamic political strategist, advocate and leader who has worked for over 2 decades in progressive politics.
As the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, her focus on the holistic health and wellness of Black LGBTQ communities is driving intersectional conversations on Black health within historically-black collges and universities and broader Black communities.
Television Writer, Creator & Producer
Television writer, creator , producer, showrunner, and PP Los Angeles board member Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday nights. Last season, Olivia Pope's abortion storyline incited important dialogue about Black women and reproductive autonomy.
Dr. Kimala Price
Professor of Women's Studies, San Diego State University
For over 20 years Dr. Price has shown strong commitment in advocating for women's health & rights, showing up not only as a scholar and researcher of reproductive health policy and politics, but as an active voice in the reproductive rights and reproductive justice movements.
The Coiners of Reproductive Justice
Black women's existence has inherently challenged the "choice vs. life" argument, however the creation and coining of reproductive justice ushered in a new framework where women of color could express all of the ways their sexual and reproductive autonomy was systemically limited.
Author, Advocate for Reproductive Freedom, Former President of PPFA
In 1978, Wattleton became the youngest individual at the time, and the first African American woman, to serve as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).
During Wattleton’s fourteen-year tenure, PPFA became one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations. Under Wattleton’s leadership, the organization secured federal funding for birth control and prenatal programs, fought against efforts to restrict legal abortions, and, along with reproductive health allies, helped to legalize the sale of abortion pill RU-486 in the United States.