EMERJ (Expanding the Movement for Empowerment and Reproductive Justice) is the national movement building initiative of ACRJ.
Reproductive justice (RJ) organizations have been active since the mid 1990’s although the movement’s roots go back further. We believe that true reproductive justice will be achieved when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make decisions about their bodies, sexuality, family formation and reproduction.
As the RJ framework developed, RJ groups became part of a loosely connected network.
But they were fairly isolated from each other, until Loretta Ross led efforts to bring groups together through the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective in 1997.
In 2005, ACRJ set out to capture and define RJ at a point when the movement had maturated to a certain level but yet was still defuse. We published our clarion call, A New Vision for Advancing our Movement for Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice, produced 1000 copies, launched it at a national Planned Parenthood meeting and put it on the web.
We crossed our fingers and then — to our amazement — the calls and e-mails started coming and haven’t stopped. We had hit a chord.
The response was phenomenal. We found ourselves on the road almost non-stop doing trainings and speaking at conferences. People were reading the paper and circulating it to others: over 50,000 people have seen it by this point. It was obvious there was even more interest in RJ than even we had thought — so much interest, so much great work, and so much energy.
We realized that there was enough interest, across many states, to move us from us from being a loose network to a nascent movement. But what would it take?
While a small organization ourselves, we carefully evaluated what we could invest, gathered some initial resources and then founded EMERJ to develop the building blocks to bring the movement to the next stage.
We started by thoughtfully bringing together a strategy team of organizers from different groups to guide EMERJ, people who deeply shared a commitment to movement building. Today, eight organizations serve on the EMERJ Strategy Team and are leading Strong Families, a national policy initiative to change culture and policies to support families of all kinds.
Join us in building a strong and vibrant movement!
Being part of EMERJ helped us figure out what we were trying to do with our program and helped ground us. – SexEd! Cohort Member
This (EMERJ curriculum) is FABULOUS — a very useful tool — thank you so much for sharing. It is a succinct informative resource our organization can use not only with our local constituency but with our funders and supporters who often ask for explanation of reproductive justice. – Executive Director of a grassroots organization
"Those EMERJ reports were very instrumental during the strategic planning process when we had to make the case for the direction we were trying to support." – Allied Funder