Grantee Spotlight: New Voices Pittsburgh
Your support for young feminist leaders across the country has fueled a social transformation. Alongside allies like you, Third Wave has directly resourced thousands of young women, transgender and gender non-conforming youth in low-income communities of color to secure healthcare, safety, education, and reproductive freedom.
Unfortunately, we know that the cost of not having any one of those core human rights is a serious threat to the life and well-being of individuals and communities. Third Wave grant partners, like New Voices Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, feel the devastating impact on their community when even one person is denied access to those rights:
Amy Lynn Gillespie died in the Allegheny County Jail this past January. She had been sent to jail for violating a condition of her probation - becoming pregnant. While in jail, prison guards denied her medical treatment for pneumonia, and she died three weeks later.
Soon after Amy's death, New Voice Pittsburgh launched their FOCUS on Women Campaign, a community organizing initiative to address the denial of reproductive justice and human rights to incarcerated women in the Allegheny County Jail. Their community education and advocacy led to the passage of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1074, the "Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act", which offers important protections to incarcerated pregnant women including access to adequate healthcare and the prohibition the practice of shackling incarcerated women during childbirth.
New Voices organized a public speak-out and march in honor of Amy. "This march is a milestone for us," says La'Tasha Mayes, founder and Executive Director of New Voices. "The policies in jails treat women as separate but unequal. In the prison system, there are no resources for women's health, especially for young women's sexual and reproductive health."
Third Wave was the first national funder to invest in New Voices Pittsburgh. Since our initial grant in 2006, New Voices Pittsburgh has been an active member and beneficiary of Third Wave's Reproductive Justice Network and annual convenings of our grant partners which creates an infrastructure for advancing gains that no one of us could achieve alone. The convenings have been a critical place for organizations led by and for communities that face isolation and social marginalization. La'Tasha says:
Being part of the RJ Network means we have the capacity to dedicate time and energy to a campaign like FOCUS on Women. As a Network, we can work together to challenge the criminalization of women's bodies and sexuality. For New Voices, the integrity of our organization is on the line if we don't stand up for what we believe in - even if that means jeopardizing some of our relationships in the community by supporting rights for women in the criminal and legal system. But this is why we exist. This is why we fight.
Your support connects and builds this national movement! Together, we can ensure that our grant partners, network and staff are equipped with the critical resources to move ahead powerfully.
Let's demonstrate our collective power by helping to resources the work of organizations like New Voices who are keeping the focus on communities of color and low-income communities. Consider a monthly gift of $10, $25, $250, and to watch ripples quickly turn into waves!