The chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (PPAA), a non-profit group that engages in electoral and political activities, recently stated that “policing” was a “reproductive justice issue,” but provided no explanation linking the two topics.
Chairwoman Chris Love made the remarks in a thread on Twitter last week, writing, “We understand that policing and police violence are reproductive justice issues, and though we are not an RJ organization, we believe in the RJ framework and are committed to supporting RJ organizations and work.”
Planned Parenthood Arizona declares policing a 'reproductive justice issue,' doesn't elaborate pic.twitter.com/AyCAP9fMX9
— Gregg Re (@gregg_re) August 3, 2020
The full context of Love’s remarks come as she asked the political candidates that her organization had endorsed to return any campaign contributions that they had received from pro-police groups.
Love wrote the following in a series of tweets:
The Board of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona voted unanimously to ask our endorsed candidates to return any campaign contributions from police unions and other policing organizations because: (1) We believe that #BlackLivesMatter is more than a hashtag. We actually believe it. (2) We wanted to do something more than issue a simple statement with no action behind it.
We understand that policing and police violence are reproductive justice issues, and though we are not an RJ organization, we believe in the RJ framework and are committed to supporting RJ organizations and work. We exist to endorse candidates who align with our values AND our job is to hold them accountable when they act in ways that are out of alignment.”
We knew this ask would be controversial and that it would make some of our endorsees uncomfortable. Good! That is the point. We want the folks who represent us in government to actually think about the consequences of signing on to #BlackLivesMatter statements on the one hand while (often quietly) taking police money on the other.
We’ve received the full range of reactions from our current electeds in the state leg. Many of our endorsees never took money from police in the first place, so it was a non-issue for them. Many more did, but were happy to return the money or donate it to other organizations doing work around policing and other issues important to the Black community.
However, there are still some that are pushing back in the most problematic ways. They know that our Board leadership is Black and Latinx, so they’ve taken great pleasure in describing our very clear policy in ways that are offensive.
We’ve been called “naive” and told the issue of policing is so complex that it is beyond our understanding. We’ve been called “singular in focus.” We’ve been told to stay in our lane. Some folks had some choice words about me personally because I’m a scary Black woman.
Y’all know what all of this means and what is implied, so I don’t have to go into it again. However, to the electeds reading this right now (and I know you are), please know that the Board is committed to this policy and we have no plans to change it so that you can feel better about taking money from police unions.
Further, the Board is a group of attorneys, medical doctors, finance experts, folks in government, and community leaders and organizers. Many of us are members of the groups most impacted by police violence. This issue is not new to us and we understand it quite well, thanks.
We also know that being an elected always requires the threading of needles. That’s why we didn’t threaten to yank endorsements. Rather, we asked politely if endorsees would return or donate the money. And even though we asked oh so politely, some folks are acting like our request for accountability is somehow an attack.
It is fine that you don’t agree. Just say that and keep it moving. We are not holding people hostage and forcing them do anything that they don’t want to do. What I’m no longer interested in hearing is offensive characterizations of this policy or my Board members.
What I will leave you with is a challenge. Lean into your discomfort about this and ask yourselves why you want police union money given all we know about the ways they impede progress in criminal justice reform (and defunding and abolition) protect the “bad apples,” blame victims in the most racist ways, and uphold a culture of violence committed against the very people they are supposed to protect and serve.
Why is keeping that money more important to you than the Black lives you claimed mattered just a couple of months ago? I’ll wait.
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