We value access to power and knowledge, and the ability to share experiences of struggle and victory. Everyone must have meaningful access to health care, including reproductive health care, and to truthful, accurately-translated, culturally proficient information about sexuality and reproductive health.
Access exists when:
Communities are no longer denied institutional and political power.
The most disadvantaged people (whether they are immigrants, people of color, LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning/queer), or people with a disability) no longer lack access to health care, are made to feel welcome by health care providers, and are never made sites of experimentation.
People, throughout their lifespans, receive truthful and comprehensive information and services about sex and sexuality.
Every person in the United States has health care, regardless of actual or perceived citizenship status, provided in a culturally proficient, confidential manner.
We value bottom-up engagement, the heart of reproductive justice, and believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. By bringing in people most impacted at the very beginning of change, we make sure the solutions we fight for actually serve our communities’ needs, and that the power we build together produces new leaders in addition to structural change.
Engagement exists when:
People’s lived experience is recognized as expertise, and qualifies those most impacted to lead.
People are treated with respect and paid adequately for their contributions.
Communities most impacted are engaged at the beginning of any organizing effort through community listening posts, forums, and relationship building.
Engagement is critical because:
Cohesive communities, built with intention, thwart oppression more effectively than isolated individuals.
In our region, family and community – whether our chosen families, our families of origin, or the communities that surround us – guide our understandings of ourselves, offer us important cultural knowledge, and support self-determination.
Building communities around shared experience enhances mutual understanding and support.
We value the inherent ability of each person to govern their own decisions and actions, and to refrain from infringing on the freedom of others.
Freedom exists when:
No one is forced to bear a child, or forego bearing a child, by the state, family coercion, or community pressure.
No one, regardless of dis/ability, poverty, race, gender, or any other status, is forced to undergo involuntary sterilization or medical interventions.
Migrant and immigrant communities are valued and have the right to work and move freely.
The sovereignty of Native American communities in our region is honored and respected.
We value the inherent dignity of each person, and uphold every person’s right to self-determination and the full expression of their heritage, culture, community, sexuality, gender, ability, and individuality. To be treated with dignity is not to have your decisions questioned without cause and to be offered access and comfort when needed.
Dignity exists when:
People have their most basic needs met. This includes access to quality healthcare, having sufficient food and money, adequate housing, education, and a safe environment.
People with disabilities have ownership of and decision-making power over their own bodies.
Elders experience no decline of these rights, and have the ability to express sexuality and sexual freedom.
Black women, Indigenous women, transgender people, and nonbinary folks of color are listened to, taken seriously, and supported with action.
Our lives and bodies are respected for their full humanity instead of being thought of as commodities and a means of production under capitalism.
POTENTIAL STRATEGIES TO BE UTILIZED:
We value centering the voices, experiences, and leadership of people at the crosshairs of structural oppression. A practice of centering in reproductive justice looks like creating space specifically for people historically marginalized by the reproductive rights movement.
Centering exists when:
The leadership and insight of people most impacted are sought out and prioritized in movement building.
Those working in the reproductive care and policy fields actively recognize and challenge personal and external anti-Blackness and misogynoir (misogyny specifically directed at Black women).
Those working in the reproductive care and policy fields acknowledge settler-colonialism and the sovereignty of the Indigenous people of Turtle Island, the so-called United States of America.
The structural oppressions affecting Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color are addressed specifically, and not generalized as belonging to “all people of color.”
Those who are most privileged are active allies, address internalized superiority, and cede space to those who are oppressed.
People who have suffered oppression are free to address it in every way it shows up in order to heal.
The results of our work, including any new healthcare systems, welcome and celebrate all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, skin color, citizenship, profession, language, age, faith, class, gender, sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability, and other expressions of identity.
We value building power within communities most impacted, not merely changing the structures around them. Surge uses issues to organize communities, instead of organizing communities to address issues. We strive to build relationships that are deep, intentional, and create pathways to leadership, recognizing that power is abundant and generative, not scarce and inherently limited.
Building power exists when:
People most impacted are not tokenized for their identity, but provided with opportunities to lead and have decision making power in the short and long term.
Internal structures and tools are created that ensure people can join, learn, and leave when the time is right without damaging the overall momentum of the reproductive justice movement.
Information is shared freely with all who need it instead of being tightly held by those with the most power.
All processes to develop and pass policy or create other structural change hold communities most impacted by the issue at the center, creating experience, knowledge, and blueprints for future organizing.
Individuals, families, and communities must be free from violence from institutions, other individuals, family and self.
Safety will be achieved when:
Individuals and communities live free of violence – whether they are migrating, living on reservation lands, forming or deciding not to form families, organizing communities, or trying to meet basic needs.
All people have access to resources, including clean and healthy places to live and work.
Everyone has the political and social power to speak out and seek answers without harmful judgment or violence.
Social supports, including language access, are available to every individual to help ensure their ability to attain freedom from violence.
The concept of “safety” is not misused to maintain control over others and resources, to justify violence, or to avoid accountability.
An individual’s chosen family, which provides individuals with the love, respect, support, and healing to which each person is entitled, is honored and respected.