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Meet the Coordinator of Our New Reproductive Justice Activists Program

Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to welcome Renée Joslyn as the coordinator for our new Reproductive Justice Activists initiative, supported through our Girls of Color Fund. Renée brings over a decade of experience in advocating for girls and women’s rights at prestigious institutions including the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Tides Foundation.

I define reproductive justice as work at the intersection of reproductive rights (the ability to make decisions about your body) and structural racism, which prevents the full participation of girls and women of color in the decision-making processes about their choices.

Ultimately, reproductive justice is all about access: girls and women getting access to the reproductive services they need, access to information about health and reproductive choices, and access to their own bodies, which includes the right to make their own decisions.

With every generation there is another level of understanding that the previous did/does not know or understand, which makes centralizing Youth Voice in policy change so important.

Young people today are uniquely qualified to tackle issues of reproductive justice because they have developed a space for themselves where they are blurring lines to be inclusive of all people and all issues. Today's youth incorporate the needs of trans and gender non-conforming youth in a seamless way that was not part of previous movements. With this inclusive voice, they have the sheer numbers to force change.

With the launch of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Reproductive Justice Activists initiative, I am most excited about the learning process—not just that of the youth, but what I can learn from the youth as well. I know that our youth activists will discover something exciting and new that will revolutionize how we organize and message around reproductive justice.

I hope we are able to develop a dynamic learning opportunity that empowers our youth activists to take ownership of their own lives in a way that also empowers others to step up and become advocates themselves. I hope this is a pebble in a pond that creates a ripple effect through communities of color that goes beyond a conversation of reproductive justice to one of human rights.

I hope the youth activists become confident enough in themselves and their voices that they can apply what they learn in this program to making change in the places that are most important to them. 

And of course, this work is so exciting because it is happening in Brooklyn with young people from Brooklyn. Everyone knows that Brooklyn is the most inventive and creative borough. We changed the face of hip hop and created the first roller coaster. As communities of color in Brooklyn become gentrified and more traditional residents are being displaced, it is young people that are lending their voices to lift-up community-led movements. They are already advocating for their everyday existence.

I know that our youth activists will discover something exciting and new that will revolutionize how we organize and message around reproductive justice.