Em-URGE-ing Voices


Name & Pronouns: Makenna L (she/her)

Favorite writer: bell hooks
Hidden talent: Pole dance/fitness for 2.5 years(:
Bio: Makenna is a Sociology masters student at American University, who graduated with her bachelor’s in Sociology and Spanish Studies from AU in spring 2023. Her personal and academic interests include several reproductive justice topics, such as sexual health disparities, Black maternal health and birth work, and mental health. She is the director of a wellness and reproductive justice brand titled What We Water (@whatwewater, www.whatwewater.org), that advocates for the complete body autonomy of marginalized communities while simultaneously encouraging radical wellness. In her free time Makenna enjoys yoga, pole dance, reading, writing, listening to music, spending time outside, and eating other people’s cooked food.

Posts By: Makenna L

#RJ Wrapped

The Reproductive Justice movement has faced a lot of challenges this year, but has also witnessed several wins. Here’s what our #ReproductiveJusticeWrapped “sounds” like in 2023: With everything going on in the world, it can be difficult to remember to celebrate our victories. The overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 resulted in several major setbacks for reproductive rights in the United States, and was discouraging for folks who have been part of the fight for bodily autonomy for decades.  Nonetheless, it also served as a catalyst for activists, politicians, community organizers, and social justice initiatives all over the country in the larger reproductive justice movement. In 2023 alone we have witnessed history with the first over-the-counter contraceptive pill made available without a prescription or age limit, legislation for insurance… Read more »

Reproductive Justice in the Music Industry Has a Long Way 2 Go

CW: This article mentions sexual assault and violence. On Thursday, November 16, 2023 R&B singer Cassie Ventura filed a lawsuit against rapper and producer Sean “Diddy” Combs, suing him for a decade-long pattern of emotional, physcal and sexual abuse, beginning when Cassie was 19 years old. The New York Times reports that in addition to sexually exploiting Cassie, Diddy asserted “an extraordinary level of command of her life,” that involved micromanaging her career and becoming extremely violent during the relationship and post break-up.  In a statement about the lawsuit Cassie voiced, “‘after years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships.’” The lawsuit… Read more »

Practicing Radical Community Care

Unless you have been living under a rock or are completely divorced from the Internet, you have heard about the horrendous crimes against humanity committed in Gaza, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Tigray, and beyond over the past month. The Free Palestine movement in particular is more visible than ever as people across the world call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. More than 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 5 in support of Palestine. To put that number in perspective, that is at least 100,000 more individuals than there were at Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.  Palestinian news and media sites such as Eye on Palestine and the Palestinian Youth Movement have posted daily updates on the realities in… Read more »

Why Decolonization is Necessary for Reproductive Justice

Content warning: This article mentions acts of reproductive violence and assault. Throughout the past month our newsfeeds and timelines have been flooded with updates on the current humanitarian crisis in Palestine following Israel’s blockade of Gaza. People across the globe have been calling for the decolonization and liberation of Palestine, a nation that has been fighting against settler colonialism by Israelites since 1948.  The number of casualties in Palestine over the past six days is horrific─Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has resulted in over 2,000 deaths and nearly 10,000 individuals wounded. Palestine and its allies across the globe are demanding an end to Israel’s occupation and decolonization: the process by which colonies become independent of the colonizing country.  The Free Palestine movement serves as an important reminder for why decolonization is… Read more »

What You Should Know About The Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Compensation Program (FISCP)

The eugenics movement began during the early 20th century and operated under the white supremacist belief that “social ills” ― Blackness, neurodivergence, immigration, to name a few―could be eradicated through “racial improvement.” Since the eugenics movement of the early 1900s, the state of California has been accused of facilitating forced sterilizations. Sterilization served as one of the primary ways that eugenics was put into practice and Californians were stripped of their right to bodily autonomy.  While the exact number of forced sterilization cases in California is unknown, the best estimation is tens of thousands. There have been multiple waves of compulsory sterilization throughout the 21st century. Although by 1979 forced sterilizations laws were repealed in California for state hospitals, approximately 20,000 people had already received sterilizations without their consent. An… Read more »

“On My Mama”

“On my mama, on my hood, I look fly, I look good.” Victoria Monét has made it clear with her latest release, Jaguar II, that she will no longer accept flying under the radar. Much like the title of her seventh project, the R&B singer-songwriter is moving out of the shadows and stepping into her power as a vibrant, unapologetic, songstress, and entertainer. However, as her career continues to skyrocket, she is constantly reminding her supporters that before anything else, she is a mother.  Monét gave birth to her daughter, Hazel Monét, in early 2021. At just 2-years-old, Hazel has made a few appearances on her mom’s projects. Monét’s efforts to include the significance of motherhood in her artistry is similar to several other Black female entertainers and public figures,… Read more »

To be young, houseless, and pregnant

When Beyoncé wrote “America Has a Problem,” she was likely talking about many things in this country, from economic inequality to the frequency of mass shootings. But perhaps one of the U.S.’ most alarming problems is its sustained housing crisis. Black and brown maternal health is one of the many reproductive justice issues that first sparked my interest in the field. After seeing this viral TikTok video in which houseless, pregnant, teen couple Jimena and Gabriel discuss their experience while expecting, I became curious as to how the condition of houselessness could affect the health of her baby and herself as a new mom.  Over half a million Americans experience homelessness every single year, though it is very difficult to accurately quantify this population. Houselessness is defined as the state… Read more »