Statement from National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) President Andrea Miller on Anti-Black Violence in the United States

June 1, 2020
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]

Coming off of a horrifying week in which we witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, we want to honor the frustration, pain, and outrage of the communities that have been harmed by police violence, overpolicing, and state-sanctioned brutality grounded in systemic racism. 

Across the nation, we’re seeing an eruption of resistance in response to this country’s ongoing legacy of violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. George Floyd’s murder is part of a pattern of systematic anti-Black racism and white supremacy that recently also took the lives of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and that has its manifestations in what we saw in Central Park last week, when a white woman weaponized her whiteness against a Black man. 

These events have all happened against the backdrop of the disproportionate toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on the lives, health, and economic circumstances of Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

NIRH fights for reproductive freedom. At its core, that mission is about every individual’s right and ability to live their life free from violence and oppression, with full freedom to control their bodies, lives, and futures. In a country that systematically attempts to strip this control from Black people, it is essential that we center the experiences of Black folks in our organization’s work and declare that Black Lives Matter. 

Even more, we need to turn this declaration into action. 

This week and every week, we stand in support of Black communities whose existence demands our acknowledgement and respect. We strive to support and amplify our Reproductive Justice colleagues who have long led the fight to broaden our movement to include racial justice — and their leadership has deeply informed our vision for reproductive freedom. As an organization, we are undertaking a racial equity process to address the ways that white supremacy and racism show up within our work place, so that we can better work to advance racial justice in our own community, in reproductive health care, and throughout society. 

There is always more work to be done. We call on our supporters to join us in taking the following actions: