March is Women’s History Month! This month is devoted to honoring the contributions women have made in our society and history.
To commemorate Women’s History Month, we are highlighting women who have advocated for and helped advance social justice and sexual and reproductive health for all self-identifying women.
Cecilia Chung is a transgender woman living openly with HIV. She is an LGBT rights activist and civil rights leader who advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness. Chung was appointed to the San Francisco Human Rights Commision before she was appointed to the San Francisco Health Commission. There, she made history by making San Francisco the first city in the United States to pay for gender reassignment surgery for uninsured transgender people. Currently, Chung not only serves as a Health Commissioner, but as the Director of Evaluation and Strategic Initiatives of the Transgender Law Center where she continues to help improve access to treatment for all people living with HIV and to help erase stigma through policy and education.
Loretta J. Ross
Loretta J. Ross is an American professor, feminist, and activist, who advocates for reproductive justice. Ross is passionate about fighting for women, especially women of color. Ross became the third executive director of the D.C Rape Crisis Center, which was the first rape crisis center geared toward supporting women of color. Some of her contributions include being the director of the National Organization for Women (NOW), organizing delegates for Black women in pro-chocie marches, co-founding the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and writing books on reproductive justice. Currently, she is a professor at Smith College and teaches courses on white supremacy, human rights, and “Calling in the Calling Out Culture.”
Laura Jimenez is currently the executive director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, a California statewide organization committed to honoring the experiences of Latinas. From childhood, Jimenez was immersed in the topic of reproductive justice and the issues women of color face. She has worked with the National Latina Health Organization and the Dominican Women’s Development Center. She is also one of the co-founders of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Today, as executive director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, she focuses on addressing issues relating to immigrant’s rights and economic injustice that intersect with reproductive justice.
Patsy Mink was the first woman of color to be elected to Congress. As a politician who had a significant impact on the nation during both stints in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mink’s legislative approach was based on the belief that representation extended beyond the borders of one’s congressional district. Mink advocated for many women’s issues in Congress, including equal rights. One of her greatest legislative victories was the Women’s Educational Equity Act, which provided $30 million a year in educational funds for programs to promote gender equity in schools to increase education and job opportunities for women, and to excise gender stereotypes from textbooks and school curriculum. Mink also built critical support for Title IX of the Education Amendments, which barred sexual discrimination in institutuions receiving federal funds and opened opportunities for women in athletics.
Dorothy Roberts is an American author, lawyer, and social justice advocate. Roberts has published more than 50 articles and books where she analyzes the interplay of racism and patriarchy in reproductive justice, child welfare, and bioethics issues. Fatal Invention, Killing the Black Body, and Shattered Bonds, are some of her works where she discusses the danger of race being a factor in the application of science and medicine, the policing of black womens’ reproductive rights throughout United States history, and the history of foster care in the United States and how it disproportionately affects black women, children, and families. Today, Roberts continues to publish books in order to educate and change policy.