Health Program, Your Health Unlocked Episodes

017: Grassroots Spotlight – Examining the Link Between Health and the Environment with New Voices for Reproductive Justice

Publication Date: April 20, 2023

By: NWHN Staff

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From food deserts to polluted air and water, historical and present-day injustices have left Black people exposed to far more significant environmental health hazards than white communities. The reproductive health of Black women, femmes, and gender-expansive people is still being affected by that, causing them to experience low birth rates, infant mortality, and malnutrition.

New Voices for Reproductive Justice is a grassroots organization based in Pennsylvania and Ohio dedicated to transforming society for the holistic health and well-being of Black women, girls, and gender-expansive people through community organizing, leadership development, and voter engagement.

In today’s episode of the Your Health Unlocked Podcast, we are joined by Ebony Flowers, manager of the ‘Black Women, Green Future’ program at New Voices, who firmly believes in the intersection of environmental justice and reproductive justice. Ebony discusses the vital work they carry out and shares insight on how we can all help advance environmental justice by viewing it from a reproductive justice lens.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What you can do to help advance environmental justice
  • How environmental justice relates to reproductive justice
  • Environmental issues that disproportionately affect Black neighborhoods
  • How New Voices for Reproductive Justice is working hard to improve the health of the Black community
  • The program Ebony is currently managing: Black Women, Green Future
  • The grantees that New Voices for Reproductive Justice works with and the projects they’re supporting

More about Ebony:

Ebony is from South Carolina and comes from a very rich culture called Gullah Geechee, which she is hugely proud of and has influenced her entire life. The Gullah Geechee people are the descendants of West and Central Africans who were enslaved and brought to the lower Atlantic states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to work on the coastal rice, Sea Island cotton, and indigo plantations. This is why environmental justice and reproductive justice are such important topics for Ebony, and she strongly believes that both have to exist for the other to continue.

Ebony works for New Voices for Reproductive Justice, a multi-state feminist organization dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women, femmes and girls, women of color, and LGBTQ+ people of color. She is the program manager for the “Black Women, Green Future” project, which aims to identify, amplify, and organize black women and femmes who are environmental Justice leaders to act towards a shared vision.

Reach out to Ebony: [email protected]

Learn more about Ebony’s ‘Black Women, Green Future‘ project.

HEALTH Program Description:

The Health Equity & Access Leadership Training Hub (hereinafter The HEALTH Program) is the newly established grant program of the National Women’s Health Network. The HEALTH Program aims to shift paradigms and shape policies from grassroots-to-grasstops by helping build the capacity of organizations and bolstering their engagement in high-impact legislative advocacy efforts. The HEALTH Program’s main areas of focus include (1) addressing health inequities that disproportionately impact historically and systematically marginalized communities, (2) expanding healthcare access through legislative advocacy, and (3) improving health outcomes for women-in all their diversities-across the lifespan.






Resources for Episode 017:

New Voices for Reproductive Justice is a multi-state feminist organization dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women, femmes and girls, women of color, and LGBTQ+ people of color.

Black Women, Green Future‘ is a current project being run by New Voices for Reproductive Justice, which aims to identify, amplify, and organize Black women and femmes who are Environmental Justice leaders to act towards a shared vision.

Explore different ways you can donate to New Voices.

Connect with and join New Voices.

Check out the Gullah Gullah Island TV show at Nickipedia.

Learn more about New Voices grantee Tonni Oberly, the co-owner of Oaks & Sprouts. Oaks & Sprouts is committed to producing socially and environmentally responsible food and agricultural products as part of the local food and economic system.

Learn more about grantee Monica Rossi’s Kalm Living, a health equity design and research consulting firm.

Read more about the work of New Voices grantee Dr Dianne Glave.

FarmerJawn Agriculture is an urban farming operation based in Philadelphia, founded by New Voices grantee Christa Barfield. They focus on decreasing food insecurity by increasing organic foodways for Black and Brown communities. You can also watch this clip to find out more.

Some Terms and Linked Definitions

  • Reproductive Justice: The human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent our children in safe and sustainable communities.
  • Discover the meaning of environmental justice and who this impacts most at Client Earth.
  • Find out more about the Gullah Geechee culture here.
  • Learn more about the history and practice of ‘redlining.’
The primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and entertain. All views expressed by the persons featured on the Your Health Unlocked podcast are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the NWHN or its affiliates. Information provided in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Consult your own provider for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.

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