Wednesday, December 31, 2008


After Katrina, the thought of finding a new place, a place I could trust, for gynecological care was overwhelming. I just couldn't bring myself to take that step. When the clinic opened, I knew I could get care in a place that was safe and accommodating of my whole self. It was my first exam in four years. I know there are thousands of women like me in New Orleans.

-Rosana Cruz, Board Member of New Orleans Women's Health Clinic and
Co-Director of Safe Streets, Strong Communities

December 2008

Dear Friends and Supporters,

With 2009 rapidly approaching, the New Orleans Women's Health Clinic (NOWHC) and the New Orleans Women's Health & Justice Initiative (WHJI) would like to wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season, and thank you for all of your support this past year. Thank you.

As NOWHC and WHJI continue to work together to equip marginalized and underserved women with the means to control and care for their own bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and health, while developing community-based strategies to improve the social and economic health and well-being of women of color and low-income women, we ask you to support the ongoing efforts of our organizations by making a donation this holiday season. This appeal presents accomplishments of both of our organizations for your giving consideration.

New Orleans Women's Health Clinic
The women we serve at NOWHC are the women we stand with, the women we are – women of color and low-income women most affected by disasters (natural and economic), women whose bodies are blamed and used as decoys for systemic injustices. We recognize that the New Orleans Women's Health Clinic cannot simply end at addressing immediate needs through services delivery. NOWHC works to integrate reproductive justice organizing and health education advocacy into our clinic to address root causes of health disparities and sexual and reproductive oppression. Our programming acknowledges intersectionality and addresses the social and economic determinants of health disparities, while challenging punitive policies around social welfare, housing, and reproductive health.

With the support of hundreds of donors like you, in just 19 months, NOWHC provided safe and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services and information to 3,040 women from throughout the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area as follows:

* 618 unduplicated women accessed direct medical services, 432 of which had repeat visits
* 820 additional women accessed health information and counseling services.
* Approximately 1600 referrals for service were provided over the last 5 months.
* Subsidized the cost of direct medical services for hundreds of women through the Women's Health Access Fund
* Partnered with the B.W. Cooper Housing Development Resident Management Corporation, enabling NOWHC to advocate and organize directly in the communities where many of our constituents live.
* Launched a Sexual Health Youth Advocacy program, focusing on comprehensive sex education, sexual violence prevention, sexuality and gender identity, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) education including HIV prevention justice advocacy

The women accessing and utilizing services at the clinic and the need for safe and holistic sexual and reproductive health services and resources, paint a portrait of the unique vulnerabilities that women of color, low income, and uninsured women face in accessing health care. Take for example, the demographics of our clinic patients:

* 65% of our patients who access care at the Clinic lacked health insurance. Without our support, most of these women would have gone months or even years without receiving safe, affordable, and unbiased care.
* 72% reported annual incomes of less than $24,999 –nearly 40% earned less than $10,000 a year
* 60% identifies as Black/African-American, and nearly 20% identifies as Latina/Hispanic – many of whom are undocumented. The Clinic provides a safe space to alleviate this fear of deportation for many undocumented women.
* 70% identified their housing status as 'renting' and
* 84% were between the ages of 18 to 40 years of age

With your continual support, NOWHC can expand our integrated approach by improving the sexual and reproductive health of low-income and underserved women and their families.

Women's Health & Justice Initiative
Much of the work of the clinic is done in concert with our sister collective, WHJI. WHJI impacts the reproductive and sexual health lives of women of color and low-income women, by mobilizing our communities to engage in racial, gender, and reproductive justice activism that challenges the legislation and criminalization of women of color and poor women's bodies, sexuality, fertility, and motherhood. As a predominately all volunteer collective, WHJI has:

* Launched organizing efforts to establish a Women of Color Resource & Organizing Center, to serve as a resource and organizing hub to nurture grassroots organizing and activism to end violence against women of color, linking struggles against the violence of poverty, incarceration, environmental racism, housing discrimination, economic exploitation, medical experimentation, and forced sterilization. The Center will house a Radical Women of Color Lending Library, a cluster of computers for community access, meeting space, and a host of movement building and leadership development programs and resources.

* Sponsored a series of Organizing Institutes, focused on examining and challenging gender and sexuality-based violence against women of color and queer and trans people of color. The Organizing Institutes have both facilitated community building conversations between grassroots social justice organizers and health practitioners, and created a space for developing grassroots strategies to equip those most disenfranchised by the medical industry in exercising their agency to take control of the their bodies, reproduction, and sexuality, while organizing for racial, gender, and reproductive justice.


* Led a coordinated effort to respond to the particular vulnerabilities of women of color, low income women, and women headed households (including women with disabilities, seniors, undocumented immigrant women, and incarcerated women.) We made over 700 calls, assisting our constituency and their families develop and implement evacuation and safety plans as communities across the Gulf Coast region prepared for Hurricane Gustav. Ironically, this occurred on the eve of the 3 year anniversary of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and subsequent government negligence.

* Immediately following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, WHJI and NOWHC took the lead in responding to the eugenic and racist legislative plans of Representative John LaBruzzo (R) of Louisiana to pay poor women $1,000 to get sterilized under the cloak of reducing the number of people on welfare and those utilizing public housing subsidies. Our organizational responses to Representative LaBruzzo's eugenic agenda, and the outcry of social justice organizations and community members around the country, resulted in LaBruzzo being removed from his position as vice chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee.

Please help WHJI and NOWHC to continue prioritizing the needs, experiences, and leadership of women of color and low-income women in the region. We ask for a donation that will:

* Expand the Clinic's ability to continue to support and subsidize the cost of care and medication for uninsured women who access services at our Clinic through our Women's Health Access Fund.

* Build the Clinic's Sexual Health Youth Advocacy Institute – focusing on comprehensive sex education, sexual violence prevention, sexuality, and STI education, and HIV prevention justice advocacy

* Open the WHJI Women of Color Resource & Organizing Center to serve as a resource and organizing hub to end violence against of women of color and gender variant members of our community

* Develop our joint Action Kits and Toolkits, including informational pamphlets, posters, and fact sheets on safe forms of birth control, STIs, breast health, fibroids, environmental toxicants & reproductive health, gender violence prevention, alternative health and healing remedies

We are asking you to further our work this holiday season by giving a gift of justice.

A Gift of $50
* Subsidizes a well-woman annual exam, including a pap smear, to an uninsured low-income woman
* Funds the expansion of the WHJI Women of Color Lending Library

A Gift of $100
* Subsidizes the lab cost of uninsured patients at the Clinic, and
* Develops WHJI sexual and reproductive justice organizing tools and materials

A Gift of $250
* Supports the involvement of youth in the Clinic's Sexual Health Youth Advocacy Institute
* Contributes to the planning, coordination, and convening of WHJI Organizing Institutes

A Gift of $500
* Bolsters the Clinic's Women's Health Access Fund
* Supports the opening of the Initiative's Women of Color Resource & Organizing Center

A Gift of $1000
* Supports the salary of a full-time paid executive director and medical staff for NOWHC
* Strengthens the long-term sustainability of the Clinic's ability to provide safe, affordable, non-coercive holistic sexual and reproductive health services and information

Financial contributions should be made out to our fiscal sponsor: Women With A Vision, with NOWHC and WHJI listed in the memo line. All contributions will be split evenly between NOWHC and WHJI, so your donation will support the work of both organizations. Checks should be mailed to the:

New Orleans Women's Health Clinic
1406 Esplanade Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70116

Your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive an acknowledgement letter with the Women With A Vision Nonprofit EIN#.

The New Orleans Women's Health Clinic and the Women's Health & Justice Initiative warmly thank our network of donors and volunteers for your continued generous support. Please support this essential work with the most generous donation you can give. Our ability to provide needed services, maintain autonomy and organize to build power and a healthy community is made possible through the support of individuals and organizations in our community and nationwide.

Thank you.


New Orleans Women's Health Clinic Board of Directors
Women's Health & Justice Initiative Collective

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
PO Box 226
Redmond, WA 98073
phone: 484-932-3166

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.

No comments: