SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW's mission is to collaborate with individuals, communities, and organizations to grow and sustain a powerful reproductive justice movement in Georgia and the South by developing and sharing a radical analysis in order to shift culture and practice, mobilize in response to immediate threats, and organize for long-term systemic change.
The SPARK Organizing Intensive (SOI) is SPARK’s newest program. SOI is an opportunity to increase the leadership of SPARK members at Georgia’s capitol and to push an inclusive reproductive justice agenda in the 2013 legislative session.
SOI will be an inter-generational (ages 13 – 50) group of fierce individuals trained on organizing and leading campaigns that demand body autonomy and chosen families.
The SOI is geared towards supporting and empowering women of color (while centering the experiences of Black Women), young people, and LGBTQ youth of color. SOI provides an opportunity for new and experienced activists to dig deep on pressing issues that affect communities across identities, to gain concrete organizing and campaign building skills, and to directly organize and support community events and projects throughout 2013.
Interested parties can apply here to SOI by December 7th.
One of SPARK's most recent successes was to unite queer youth of color throughout the rural south during our IGNITE conference.
Last year, youth reported to SPARK about the struggles they faced trying to create a safe space for themselves. Youth said it was hard to be queer in people of color spaces, and hard to talk about the impact of race in queer spaces. Age was an explicit, additional factor for a lot of youth who lived in areas without a queer resource center. Many youth reported gay bars as the only sense of community available in the town and due to their age, they were barred from entering.
SPARK directly responded by creating IGNITE, which gathered around 80 people from across the South to create networks of survival. Queer youth were able to connect with each other and one of the few queer youth resource centers in the area, BreakOUT.
In addition to IGNITE, SPARK also had major successes in its public policy work in 2012. SPARK introduced House Bill 653 to end the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women during childbirth. The bill had a recorded hearing where the medical community, the law enforcement community, and women who had been shackled spoke out against this inhumane practice. The empowerment one mother said she felt was a huge success for the organization. SPARK's members visited the capitol several times to lobby for the bill, and for many, it was their first time entering the capitol.