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Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ)* is a social, political and economic justice organization working for the liberation of Asian women and girls through the lens of reproductive justice. We are committed, as part of the Reproductive Justice Movement, to exploring and articulating the intersection of racism, sexism, xenophobia, heterosexism, and class oppression in women's lives. We play a pioneering role in defining a progressive women's reproductive rights agenda through our grassroots and advocacy work. Our model of social change utilizes two core strategies, Community Organizing and Reproductive Justice Movement Building.

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* Formerly Asians & Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health (APIRH)

History


Asians and Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health (APIRH) builds the capacity of Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls to participate in advocacy on reproductive rights and women's empowerment. In 1989, the organization's founders wanted women from our diverse communities to be a part of the movement to preserve access to safe abortions. Asians and Pacific Islanders for Choice (APIC) was created following the Supreme Court's Webster v. Reproductive Health Services decision. Bringing the perspectives of women of color to the struggle for reproductive freedom remains an important part of our work. However, "choice" in terms of abortion access was not broad enough to address the complexity of race, class, and gender issues facing women and girls from our communities. Instead we identified the need for a holistic approach to women's health and empowerment, where reproductive health advocacy can address the unique and broad range of challenges for Asian and Pacific Islander communities. In 1992 we became Asians and Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health to reflect this expanded mission to challenge the many limitations of "choice" for women and girls in our communities.

Because the 1989 Webster decision gave more power to the states to regulate abortions, APIRH realized that a state-level strategy was necessary to challenge the erosion of reproductive choice for women. Today as even more health and welfare policy decisions are given to states, the ability to respond directly to changes in policy, budgets and services is crucial to the reproductive health of women and girls. APIRH works in California because it is one of the most populous states and where some of the best and the worst public policies are started. It is also where 40% of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States reside. APIRH national strategy is based on a long-term vision of building strong local and state grassroots leaders and organizing.

In 1995 APIRH held its landmark conference "Opening Doors to Our Health and Well-Being" in the California State Capital, Sacramento. It was the first statewide effort to mobilize Asian and Pacific Islander women in California on issues of reproductive health and women's empowerment. Nearly half the 150 women participants were immigrants or refugees and 30 adolescent girls took part in this gathering. "Opening Doors" created an opportunity for activist Asian and Pacific Islander American women, young women, and non-English speaking women to talk and organize across languages, culture, and class. At the gathering everyone was both an expert and a learner. We had women representing over 15 different ethnic groups, from Vietnamese, Chinese, Mien, Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, Japanese, Korean, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai, Filipina, to women from multi-racial backgrounds. The agenda those women formed at that gathering is our road map for much of APIRH's work today.

In 1998, APIRH completed an intensive strategic planning process to sharpen our mission and goals. Our mission statement now reads:

Asians and Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health (APIRH) works toward a world of social and economic justice, where Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls are free to make choices to ensure their health and well-being. Through collaborations, outreach, education, community-based research, advocacy and organizing, APIRH promotes safe and viable options for the reproductive health and sexual well-being of Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls in California.

In summary, APIRH works to achieve the following goals:

  • To build a diverse and powerful base of women and girl leaders to advocate and organize for Asian and Pacific Islander reproductive health and freedom;
  • To increase Asian and Pacific Islander perspectives and participation in California and national mainstream pro-choice coalitions;
  • To integrate issues of reproductive health and freedom into Asian and Pacific Islander community advocacy efforts; and
  • To increase the effectiveness and numbers of Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls who are active in promoting community health at the local, county, state and national public-policy levels.
Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice

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