ChoiceWords Blog

URGE Statement on Juneteenth

A century and a half since June 19, 1865, — the date federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure all enslaved African Americans were freed — Juneteenth continues to serve as a celebration of joy and resilience for Black people. A year after the global uprisings that followed the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and over a year into a global pandemic, this Juneteenth comes amid a period of immeasurable hardship. Yet, the holiday’s spirit of possibility remains stronger than ever. To honor that spirit of possibility, URGE will close our offices on Juneteenth, because our staff deserve the time to meditate on the gifts that we all gain from the liberation of Black people. As URGE prepares to close its office URGE leader Danielle Hurd-Wilson (they/them)… Read more »

Members of Congress Introduce Bill to Protect Abortion Access

The bill arrives just weeks after the Supreme Court announces it will hear an abortion ban case challenging Roe v. Wade (Washington, DC) Today, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)—a bill that would protect the right to access abortion throughout the country—was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). WHPA would create a federal statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care, and a corresponding right for their patients to receive that care, free from medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion care and impede access. The introduction of WHPA comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a… Read more »

A Year after the Murder of George Floyd, URGE Reflects

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by a member of the Minneapolis Police Department. This murder, and the subsequent fearlessness of protestors in Minneapolis who refused to stand down in the face of anti-Black police brutality, sparked uprisings throughout the United States and across the globe in support of Black lives and the ending of police violence. A year later, URGE leader Danielle Hurd-Wilson reflects on the resilience of young people during a year of historic struggle.  Statement from Danielle Hurd-Wilson, Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity:  “The past year saw some accountability for the murder of George Floyd, but only glimmers of justice. True justice starts with defunding police departments, getting cops out of schools, decriminalizing Blackness, and investing in community-based solutions that create safer, more prosperous futures free from the threat of state violence. It means ensuring full access to social supports and health care for all… Read more »

NEW REPORT – A CALL TO ACTION: LGBTQ+ YOUTH NEED INCLUSIVE SEX EDUCATION

(Washington, DC) – Today, leading policy and health organizations released a major new report detailing the urgent need for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education programs and supports. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth – particularly those who are at the intersection of multiple marginalized communities – need to be able to learn in settings that are inclusive of their experiences and that give them the necessary tools to stay safe and healthy. However, whether legally barred or simply ignored, LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education is not available for most youth, especially for LGBTQ youth who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). “It is essential that LGBTQ+ youth are able to not only learn but thrive in their educational settings. To make this a reality, sex education curriculum must be… Read more »

There is No Justice Under White Supremacy

On April 20, 2021, after an almost month-long trial, a Minnesota jury delivered a guilty verdict on all counts in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.  Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE:  “We honor that this verdict may bring relief or comfort to George Floyd’s loved ones, to others who have been impacted by police violence, and to Black communities across the country. While it’s an outcome in a deeply flawed system, we don’t discount the meaning of this glimmer of accountability for many.  “Still, we know that no courtroom in this country can deliver justice — not to the Floyd family, and not to Duante Wright’s son, not to Adam Toledo’s mother, not to any of the countless, named and unnamed, Black people killed by police. Convicting a police officer of murder won’t end the terror and suffering inflicted on Black communities. Creating more oversight won’t stop the killing nor dismantle the white supremacist… Read more »

EACH Act Would Improve the Lives of Countless Young People 

On March 25, a coalition of United States senators and representatives introduced the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act. If passed, the bill would restore abortion coverage for low-income people across the country, prevent politicians from interfering with or denying abortion coverage in insurance markets, and would undermine the Hyde Amendment, which bans abortion coverage in public insurance plans.    Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE:  “It’s time for the racist Hyde Amendment — and all its tentacles in public policy — to end. It’s time for real abortion access in this country, including for the low-income people who’ve been sold a fiction of legal abortion without real access for longer than I’ve been alive. For decades, politicians have used the Hyde Amendment to deny millions of women, trans, and nonbinary people the abortion care they need, and this injustice has fallen hardest on young people, Black and brown folks, and those struggling to make ends meet. URGE is thrilled to support this bold legislation that would lift the abortion coverage bans that… Read more »

URGE Condemns Racist Attacks on Asian-American Women

(Atlanta, GA) — Statement by Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity on the rise in violence targeting Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), specifically AAPI women, in the United States:    “This week we are mourning the loss of 8 lives, including 6 Asian-American women, in Georgia. We also honor the innumerable and often unnamed AAPI community members who have experienced hatred, discrimination, and violence over the last year and throughout our nation’s history. We join in expressing solidarity, rage, and pain in the face of these continued attacks.   “The ongoing, and largely un– and underreported, violence AAPI communities have been experiencing, especially in the wake of racist stereotypes related to the pandemic, is horrific and unacceptable. According to the most recent data, hate incidents in major cities targeting Asian Americans rose by nearly 150% in 2020. The United States government, as well as politicians and media personalities, throughout history have been complicit in stoking racism against… Read more »

URGE Response to Arraignment of Local Columbus Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Advocates Targeted with Criminal Charges

(Columbus, OH) — Statement by Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity on the arraignment of several Columbus-based advocates targeted with criminal charges for peacefully protesting at an anti-abortion event in a local church with a history of targeting abortion clinic patients:  “This church, like many across the country, has been co-opted and politicized by individuals who want abortion to be illegal, people who need abortions to be shamed, and people who support abortion to be intimidated into silence. These extremists have used the pulpit to aggressively push stigmatizing misinformation about abortion and other reproductive health care, while heaping shame upon those who have made the decision to end their pregnancy Some of the people who participated in the protest have been targets of these vile, personal anti-abortion attacks. “The leaders of this church have supported politicians at the Ohio Statehouse in passing unpopular and dangerous bills that make abortion inaccessible. Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians have passed twenty-three restrictions on abortion care in Ohio. These… Read more »

In South and Midwest, Legislators Try to Distract Constituents by Attacking Transgender and Nonbinary Young People

Less than one month after the Biden-Harris Administration repealed the transgender military ban and issued an executive order declaring that all people, “no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” receive equal treatment under the law, at least 50 bills attacking transgender and nonbinary young people and communities have cropped up in statehouses throughout the country, with the majority concentrated in the South and Midwest. These bills represent a coordinated attempt to ban trans people from participating in sports, eliminate their health care access, attack their access to safe school environments, and codify anti-trans discrimination.  Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE:  “As state legislatures fail to meet the needs of communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate disaster, and job loss, lawmakers in the South and Midwest are trying to distract their constituents with cruel attacks on transgender young people. It’s disgusting to see these legislators attacking marginalized children to distract from their own failures.”  “Let’s be clear, these bills are based on lies, justified with… Read more »

Texas Lawmakers’ Response to Disaster and Crisis is Fatally Inadequate

Right now, 4.4 million Texans are without reliable power, 12 million Texans are without clean water, and 27,000 more are without reliable housing. The polar vortex has created an unprecedented climate disaster, exacerbating the ongoing devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 41,000 lives in the state. The catastrophe has heightened disparities between wealthy and low-income Texans, as the latter struggle without water, power, economic relief, or the means of basic survival.   Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE:  “What we are seeing in Texas is the deadly confluence of preventable climate disaster and failure to invest in the survival of low-income families, immigrants, and people of color. This crisis only compounds the suffering of millions of Texas already pushed to the brink by a deadly and ongoing pandemic, not to mention chronic underfunding of essential programs. It’s time for Texas lawmakers to take… Read more »