WASHINGTON, DC — Recenlty, Planned Parenthood Federation of America hosted its seventh annual brunch as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) 48th Annual Legislative Conference. Along with media partner BET Her — BET’s channel designed for Black women — Planned Parenthood presented its Champion of Women’s Health Care awards to U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA); actress Karrueche Tran, and Janine Sherman Barrois, showrunner and executive producer of TNT’s Claws; Mary Hooks, co-director of Southerners on New Ground; and South Carolina state Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and Todd Rutherford and Sens. Margie Bright-Matthews (D-SC) and Marlon Kimpson (D-SC).
In accepting her award, for Champion of Women’s Health Care, for writing a powerful abortion storyline in a recent episode of Claws, showrunner and executive producer, Janine Sherman Barrois, said the following:
“It’s not enough to be ‘hashtag woke.’ We have to keep fighting.… People stood with us, they stood with Black women and they stood with the show, and they said tell the story.”
This yearly event is Planned Parenthood’s opportunity to deepen its relationship with Congressional Black Caucus leaders and celebrate and honor members of Congress as well as influencers and activist leaders working to advance policy, change culture, and advance the fight for equity and justice for Black communities.
The event marked Dr. Leana Wen’s first public appearance at a Planned Parenthood event, as the newly named President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. While Dr. Wen continues to serve as Health Commissioner of the city of Baltimore, she will start her role as President of the organization on November 12. In addressing the room, Dr. Leana Wen stated:
“We must speak the truth about the intersections that affect all of us — that just as poverty and lack of access are public health issues, racism is a public health issue too.
“I am proud to stand alongside Planned Parenthood and all of our partners in this room, who are holding the line and breaking through barriers. I pledge to you that Planned Parenthood will always stand with women. Planned Parenthood will always stand with people of color. We will uplift the critical work you do. We will always be here to provide care — no matter what.”
Michyah Thomas and Aman Tune, students from Planned Parenthood Generation’s Hampton University’s chapter, accepted an award for their continuous work to advance sexual and reproductive rights and education on their campus. In their acceptance speech they called upon the attendees to tweet explaining why they support reproductive rights and use the #ISupportHUGA to send the message to the Administration of Hampton University that they need to recognize their Planned Parenthood Generation Action Chapter as an official student group on campus. The #ISupportHUGA has garnered tremendous support.
Nia Martin-Robinson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s new Director of Black Leadership and Engagement addressed the crowd:
“In our current political climate our communities are under unprecedented attacks, access to sexual and reproductive health care is in jeopardy and everyday we are fighting to maintain our dignity and bodily autonomy. At Planned Parenthood we know that this political moment calls upon us to deepen our institutional commitment to Black women and girls because their bodies are on the frontlines of many of these attacks.
“We believe that creating health equity is critical to ensuring that all people can lead healthy, safe, and empowered lives. We cannot achieve that mission in a country and culture where systemic racism continues to block people of color from health care and basic human rights.”