Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!) has been part of the All* Above All coalition for several years because we believe in abortion justice and know working in coalition is the only way to achieve that. The Abortion Justice Act spearheaded by this coalition presents a progressive legislative vision for the future which we want to see come to fruition. However, this doesn’t mean by any means necessary; how we reach our goals and how we treat each other along the way matters significantly.
Recently, former staff from All* anonymously shared experiences of anti-Blackness and described a work culture that did not value the expertise and labor of Black staff as much as other employees and did not encourage advancement. Instead of receiving this feedback, meeting the harm where it landed, and strengthening the coalition, All Above All chose to lay off all non-executive staff. There is no universe in which this is an acceptable response to reports of racial harm. It is a painful and egregious situation that drives leaders out of our movements at a time of deep crisis, which compounds losses from which we are already feeling the ripple effects.
GRR! is a predominantly white organization engaging a predominantly white base of activists; we do not speak up to cast stones. Rather, we commit to continued reflection and action to end perpetuation of anti-Blackness in the reproductive rights movement. We are reminded that while the work matters, so do the workers. We express our values through our structures and will not achieve abortion justice when our path to it is rife with inequity, harm and silencing. There is too much external harm aimed at this movement; we cannot allow the weight of these oppressive forces and destructive habits of “doing the work” break us from within. GRR! is committed to demonstrating our values in order to achieve our vision of just futures; we want to work with partners and in coalitions with folks who are committed to the same.