ACRJ team grows!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Shanelle (right) with her twin sister.
By Shanelle Matthews

Peace ACRJ supporters, friends, family & allies.  I am humbled and honored to be the new Communications Manager here at Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice. As a Los Angeles native who was birthed from a long lineage of strong women, I’ve been committed to advocacy and activism within the reproductive justice framework for most of my adult life.

By profession I am a journalist with a deep-seated feel for the needs of those on the margin. Using media as a tool for social change can foster a future where the traditionally disenfranchised and oppressed can have their voices heard, their needs met and the support they so desperately need. I chose social justice media because it is uniquely sensitive to the needs of marginalized communities, from which I come.
I’m grateful to say I’ve had the pleasure of working with organizations like Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Women’s eNews, The Women’s Media Center and The Feminist Majority Foundation who have all helped cultivate my passion for RJ work. With this new position, I renew my commitment to bringing families on the margin to the center, by creating visibility and generating awareness about issues that are at the heart of our work.

That being said I’d like to express my disapproval for the anti-choice racially charged billboards targeting Black women’s reproductive choices that have populated Oakland. These billboards, strategically positioned in low-income neighborhoods by the Radiance Foundation, are unjustly degrading me and women who look like me about choices we make for ourselves. This is my home. I walk these streets everyday committed to doing my part to making my respective neighborhood a better place. As a Black woman I make the best decisions for myself and my family with the resources I have available to me and being shamed about those decisions isn’t helpful, it’s hurtful. I urge CBS Outdoors to make better choices with regard to who they allow to purchase ad space recognizing that their decisions affect the whole of Oakland and that their fatter paycheck risks my reproductive autonomy.

These billboards are just one hurdle we intend to defeat and looking forward I am optimistic about the change we aim to create. Committed to this work, I take my role and responsibility here at ACRJ seriously, and intend to continue communicating resistance to the tyrannical and systemic oppression that exists within the realm of reproductive health, rights and justice.

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