Reaffirming MSFC’s Commitment: Black Lives Matter
Friday, March 5, 2021
Dear MSFC Community,
To follow up on the Black Lives Matter values statement shared last summer, the Board of Directors wanted to reaffirm our commitment to putting our words of reflection into action. Our student leaders, membership at large, and staff lead many of these efforts, and we are grateful for this organization-wide commitment to anti-racism. Below you will find how Medical Students for Choice is honoring our commitments.
We committed to transforming MSFC‘s membership and leadership from a predominantly white cisgender female heteronormative organization into a transnational movement representing peoples of all races, genders, and sexual orientations
- MSFC supports Racial Justice reading groups to create a space that decenters whiteness and examines how white supremacy operates in MSFC’s work. Members from North America, Latin America and Africa regularly attend the group meetings. The reading groups organized by African members and Canadian members highlight racial justice issues in geographically diverse areas.
- MSFC member caucuses intentionally provide space for members to show up as their full selves.
- The MSFC student-led webinar series, Unmuted: The Intersection of Race, Reproductive Justice, and Family, explores the history of reproductive violence and oppression facing the Black community in the US and examining how this legacy of racism endures today along the entire reproductive healthcare spectrum.
We committed to restructuring Board recruitment processes and future MSFC staffing to incorporate principles of anti-racism, including the deliberate representation of Black people and other people of color at all levels of leadership
- After working with a search firm to recruit a diverse pool of candidates, MSFC’s Executive Committee hired reproductive justice leader Pamela Merritt as MSFC’s new Executive Director.
- The Board’s nominating committee eliminated the review of CVs to make the application process more equitable. The committee reconfigured both the application recruitment process and the review to recruit more diverse candidates and eliminate bias.
We committed to instituting anti-racism education for MSFC Board members and developing board actions that explicitly include anti-racist goals within our work
- MSFC has budgeted this ongoing anti-racism education series for 2021. We are in the process of identifying and implementing anti-racism training for the Board.
- All MSFC Board of Directors committees have committed to including anti-racist goals within work plans to ensure that Board-directed funding, strategic planning, fundraising, and recruitment adopt thoughtful and longitudinal investment to anti-racism.
We committed to provide travel funding opportunities for underrepresented medical students of color to increase their participation in MSFC activities, alleviating the economic disadvantage many students of color face due to the legacy of slavery, genocide, and colonialism, as well as structural racism
- In anticipation of future travel, MSFC included an additional $10,000 in the 2021 budget to support travel for underrepresented in medicine (URM) students to participate in the RHE. While all RHE participants are eligible for funding, these increased funds will alleviate additional economic barriers to participation.
- MSFC will continue to fully fund travel for African members to participate in the SRHE in Ghana.
We committed to build intentional and sustained collaboration with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)-led medical student and healthcare professional organizations
- The Unmuted webinar series partners with different activists and organizations every month.
- MSFC partnered with Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, Women’s Medical Fund (Philadelphia), and Carolina Abortion Fund for an event: “Spotlight on Reproductive Justice: Building Community Partnerships.”
- MSFC partnered with policy experts from Ipas and physician activists from Ipas – Kenya for an event on “Dismantling US Neo-Colonialism: Why we must #RepealHyde.”
- MSFC partnered with RAICES, Refugee Health Alliance, and Doctors for Camp Closure to provide education and advocacy opportunities for members, and hosted the event: “Reproductive Injustice and ICE Detention Centers: Medical and Community Advocacy.”
We committed to supporting MSFC chapters and staff on partnerships with Reproductive Justice organizations and incorporating Reproductive Justice curricula in medical education
- MSFC enrolled in an organizational membership to SisterSong, a thought leader in reproductive justice, to further support their work and compensate them for the learning opportunities available to MSFC staff.
- We adopted a policy to compensate guest speakers for their labor and expertise financially and to prioritize featuring BIPOC faculty members in our educational events.
- Chapters can access special event funding to give chapters extra resources to hold reproductive justice events in partnership with community organizations, prioritizing BIPOC-led organizations.
- Partnering with the University of Michigan, we provided an event to our curriculum reform working group and our broader network to institute a reproductive justice framework to medical school curricula. The sample reproductive justice curriculum and event resources, created by the University of Michigan, are available on MSFC’s website.
We committed to support and provide resources to MSFC chapters in their efforts to increase membership and develop the leadership of underrepresented minorities in medicine (URM)
- We have encouraged members to examine the ways white supremacy and oppression show up in their lives, medical schools, and MSFC chapters. Our goal is to provide those chapters who are predominantly white or lack representation of URM in leadership positions the tools to work internally to become a space for a more diverse membership.
We recognize that anti-racism is an ongoing practice and commitment. Our student leaders and membership continue to inspire us with their dedication to anti-racism work, demonstrated in the many examples above. We pledge to continue to honor the values outlined in our Black Lives Matter statement and grow to meet our membership’s needs.
You can follow the work we are doing on Instagram, Facebook, or at msfc.org. If you or anyone you know would like to support this work, please consider making a gift. We are so excited about Medical Students for Choice’s future and the work we have done, are doing, and will continue to do to create tomorrow’s abortion providers and pro-choice physicians.
MSFC Board of Directors