Las Vegas locals gather at Kianga Isoke Palacio Park to stand and speak up for lives ended by police brutality and racism.
For centuries, a countless number of innocent black lives have been taken from their families and communities due to authority brutality, hate and carelessness. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd,Sandra Bland,Trayvon Martin and many, many more armless lives are gone but not forgotten.
Throughout the city of Las Vegas, community members are coming together to show their support to end the unfair practices of the American criminal justice system. These practices punish and kill black and brown community members at a higher rate than white counterparts for crimes that rarely differ.
“It’s so important for us to be having these conversations: all of us. It’s time for all of our voices to be heard, with change and justice as the result.” Says Kiana K., event attendee.
Minister Vance “Stretch” Sanders organized a standing rally of community members at Kianga Isoke Palacio Park also known as Doolittle Park on the historic westside of Las Vegas. This rally then led to a candlelight vigil remembering those who have lost their lives to racism and police brutality.
Locals from different cultural backgrounds came together to bring awareness to the long suffering and discriminating behavior imposed on black members in society. They celebrated black culture with the singing of the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, a viewing of traditional African drumming and dancing, and a tap dance presentation.
Community speakers came to share their voice and encouragement, including former Nevada Assemblyman, Gene Collins.
Waters and snacks were distributed to event attendees during the 93 degree weather protest.
Minister Stretch spoke of the goal to convince state officials to sign a bill that charges, convicts and fires officers that use excessive force during civil confrontations.
Every voice within the community lends a push for change. This peaceful protest/vigil was a clear demonstration of progress to achieving these goals, but it does not stop here.
What is your contribution or thoughts on the #BlackLivesMatter cause within our community?
The Global Gag Rule was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 targeting international organizations funded by U.S. Global Health Assistance. The Global Gag Rule denies funding to health care organizations around the world if they promote or provide abortion services to their patients. These locations include Africa, the Middle East, and South America.
On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule as one of his first acts as President.
Increased HIV in countries because of lost funding for their prevention and treatment programs
Increase in malaria and zika outbreaks
Increase in unsafe abortions.
#Fight4HER is advocating for the Global HER Act, designed to overturn the Global Gag Rule. The purpose of this movement is to expand awareness and demand increased access to international family planning programs to ensure that every woman, girl, and person seeking care can make their own healthcare decisions without exceptions. It was important for attendees to get a glimpse of what it looks like on both sides of the door in the Legislature. Being in the community, educating them and generating support for the bill is ultimately what it takes to get the bill through.
Las Vegas local, Emily Brzozowski, state organizer for #Fight4HER in Southern Nevada organized the Nevada Health, Empowerment, and Rights Summit. With ten years of experience advocating for reproductive rights, Emily began by volunteering with Planned Parenthood at age sixteen. Her agenda is to advocate for different pieces of legislation designed to improve the lives of people that they impact.
“Under the Global Gag Rule care providers can’t perform abortions or refer people to where they can receive a safe and legal abortion.” Says Emily Brzozowski, #Fight4HER State Organizer. “The policy essentially holds the funds hostage unless the organizations agree to the policy, forcing health care providers to make an impossible choice- either continue to provide care without providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare or continue to provide abortion services and lose critically needed funding for other programs.”
The keynote speaker at the summit was Melvine Ouyo former reproductive health care nurse from a clinic in Kenya. She came to share her story about accessing reproductive healthcare in countries that the Global Gag Rule impacts. Melvine received her Masters at Harvard in Public Administration along with fourteen years of experience in advocacy for reproductive health and rights and speaks globally about reproductive health. She spent her past decade working with the most vulnerable and marginalized communities at Family Health Options Kenya. Melvine has partnered with Population Connection as a reproductive health expert on the #Fight4HER campaign.
It is simply impossible to have a serious discussion about women’s health and maternal mortality in the developing world without discussing the importance of safe abortion access.
Activists, organizers, and community leaders around the country are working together to take direct action putting pressure on members of Congress to support the HER Act. As a community, no matter who we voted for or who we’re planning on voting for, we can realize the effects of the Global Gag Rule and how it affects the world around us.
Want to join the #Fight4HER movement? Text ‘Fight NV’ to 52886 to receive updates on the campaign.
Share your comments about the Global Gag Rule and the Global Her Act in the comment section below.