Black Mamas Reclaim Their Space in Reproductive Justice

The artist cozcon is a multidisciplinary artist dedicated to broadening the visual lexicons of Black, femme and queer life. (@cozcon)

Forward Together, a national multiracial reproductive justice organization, is using art to challenge the traditional images and myths of Mother’s Day through its 13th annual Mamas Day campaign. This year’s theme, Black Mamas Reclaiming their Space in the Reproductive Justice Movement, celebrates Black mamahood and the Black mamas who continue to push the work forward—since Black mamas are the founders of the reproductive justice framework and are the foundation of our movement.

Each year, we commission original artwork that reflects the various ways our mamas and families look. The result is a collection of beautiful and unique cards that better reflect the families we know and love. This year’s Mamas Day art is a reflection of the four tenets of the reproductive justice framework:

  • The right to have a child.
  • The right to not have a child.
  • The right to parent a child or children in a safe and healthy environment.
  • The right to own our bodies and control our futures.
Tesh Silver’s Moth Mama. Silver creates vivid, engaging visuals that radiate equity, love and justice. (

Lack of access to reproductive justice services, higher maternal mortality rates, anti-abortion policy that largely impact Black families, and a criminal justice system that does not value Black bodies are issues that Black mamas consistently navigate. We deserve to parent children in safe and healthy environments. This Mamas Day we are honoring the love and sacrifice of Black mamas who are doing their best to create safe homes and communities for their loved ones.

Just like the Black foremothers of the movement, reproductive justice is rooted in community, care and connection. In light of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s imperative that the reproductive justice movement gets back to its roots, which are inherently Black.

Black Mamas are expansive. We are queer, trans and nonbinary. Black Mamas are aunties, big sisters, cousins and matriarchs of the community. Black Mamas are not a monolith and exist in various forms of beauty, strength and resilience. Queer and trans Mamas and those who have not naturally birthed children are often excluded from family and even within the Reproductive Justice movement. We know that Reproductive Justice is not just a “women’s issue” and that LGBTQ  Mamas need access to reproductive healthcare as well. The voices and experiences of Black Mamas must be honored during Mamas Day and beyond.

It’s imperative that the reproductive justice movement gets back to its roots, which are inherently Black.

Ebin Lee is a Portland Based artist from Chicago. They use shape and color to communicate their human experience.

For decades, Black mamas in all of our many forms have been overlooked by legislators and our voices have been drowned out by white-led organizations that have appropriated this movement, while decentering our experiences. Right now, we are witnessing an assault on our human rights. People are actively fighting to stop us from living affirming lives and raising Black kids in a safe and loving environment—and they’re trying to control if, when and how we give birth and form families.

Now is the time for us to reclaim our space in the reproductive justice movement. Just as Black mamas are the nucleus of our communities we must be at the center of this movement. Until Black Mamas are liberated, none of us are free.”

Tesh Silver’s Forest Mama. “Whether you’re bringing another life into the world, or you mother others by being a safe place for them to land, motherhood allows for giving deep care and receiving love and appreciation in ways that haven’t been experienced before.” (

Get involved! Visit to send a card to the mamas in your life, and follow and share photos and stories of #MamasDay2023 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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ChaKiara Tucker is the media strategist and reproductive justice advocate at Forward Together.