Statement from URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity Executive Director and Board of Directors
March 26, 2019
Kimberly Inez McGuire
Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director: “URGE envisions a world where each of us can live, love, express our gender, create families, and enjoy sexuality with liberation, joy, and dignity. Essential to this vision is ending sexual and gender-based violence, harassment, and abuse, and addressing the disparate impact of these harms on young people, women and femmes, queer and trans folks, and people of color. As a survivor of sexual assault, I know the pain of these kinds of trauma, and how hard it is to speak up. We at URGE extend our support and solidarity to all survivors, those who tell their stories and those who do not.
“Any allegation of sexual misconduct, harassment, or abuse should be investigated and addressed, in collaboration with those who have come forward. These allegations should never be ignored—our movement is stronger when we all live in the light.
“This is also a time for leadership. We at URGE are reviewing and reminding our staff, Board, and membership of our organizational policies. Furthermore, we call on the leaders of reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations to join us in developing a shared vision, best practices, training, and community agreements to prioritize safety and accountability in our shared movement spaces. Organizations across the political spectrum and the country at large are in the midst of a moral reckoning, and we must take every opportunity to lead the way to justice. Our communities deserve nothing less.”
Darshan Khalsa, Board Chair: “We at URGE will continue to center our constituency, young people, in conversations about consent and sexual agency, both to uplift their autonomy and to address the power dynamics they encounter.
“As URGE’s Board of Directors, we are conscious that it may be more difficult for those experiencing harm from members of a Board to speak up, especially for those from the communities we serve, including young people, people of color, women and femmes, and LGBTQIA+ people.
“Dr. Willie Parker previously served on URGE’s Board from 2012 – 2016. URGE had no complaints and has had no knowledge of any allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, or abuse during the time Dr. Parker served on our Board, although we know that does not address the current circumstances.
“We are here to listen to members of the URGE community who may have been affected by the actions of any current or former Board members. We commit to strengthening our vetting processes for potential Board members and examining and if necessary enhancing our accountability structures. We at URGE are committed to living our values and holding ourselves and our movement accountable.”
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity is the only national, multi-racial reproductive justice organization centering the leadership of young people. URGE envisions a world where all people have agency over our own bodies and relationships and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency. We’re making that vision a reality by engaging young people in creating and leading the way to sexual and reproductive justice, with civic engagement as a core strategy. We inspire youth organizers to discover their own strength and transform it into leadership.