The Divine 9, the historically Black fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council led by Phi Beta Sigma, say they are joining forces to save the lives of Black women.
The influential organization said in a statement it would launch “Tell Somebody,” a public service campaign emphasizing the disproportionate impact on Black women of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn nearly half a century of established law under Roe v. Wade.
The campaign is a collective effort by the Divine 9 to empower the community to counteract the potentially disastrous effect of the repeal by urging Americans to contact the politicians who can make the most difference.
“Overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion, it will only end safe abortions and access to healthcare for millions of women — particularly poor women of color — and fuel a full-fledged public health crisis in this country,” said Chris V. Rey, president of Phi Beta Sigma, a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. “We’re calling on the 2.5 million members of the Divine 9 to contact lawmakers to mitigate the impact of this egregious blow to the well-being of 10 million Black women of child-bearing age.”
“Tell Somebody,” narrated by renowned actor Jenifer Lewis (“Black-ish,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It”), starkly illustrates the circumstances that drive nearly four times more Black women to seek abortions versus their white peers, particularly sexual violence.
Black women are also three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white peers, and that mortality rate among Black mothers is expected to increase by 33% in the wake of the Roe repeal, organization officials said.
Lewis, known as the “Mother of Black Hollywood,” urges viewers to contact key lawmakers to tell them to relax filibuster rules so Congress can protect women’s health care rights.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, an advocate for reproductive rights, lauded the Divine 9 campaign in the midst of “an unprecedented public health crisis.”
“The severity of losing the right to govern our own bodies cannot be overstated, especially for Black communities who have long felt the impact of politicians asserting power and control over our bodies at the expense of our health, lives, and futures,” McGill Johnson said. “Creating medically unnecessary barriers to abortion only makes it harder for people to get the health care they need, and deeply affects communities that already face challenges within the health care system — communities like ours.”
Contact information for members of the U.S. Senate can be found at https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm. For more information about the Tell Somebody campaign, go to www.TellSomebodyNow.org.