“We cannot sustain a democracy that, at its core, begins with the idea that people can’t control their own bodies, and therefore their own lives and their futures.”
Fatima Goss Graves

At its heart, the ability to control one’s body is the ability to control one’s future. In this opening plenary, Community Catalyst Executive Director Emily Stewart and President & CEO of the National Women’s Law Center Fatima Goss Graves, discuss the relationship between attacks on reproductive freedom and access to gender-affirming care and how, for many, this is being experienced as a crisis of democracy. 

Key quotes and highlights include: 

  • “Everything is health and health impacts everything.” Drawing from years of experience, Fatima speaks on the need to not only recognize issues of social justice as intersectional but to organize in close, strategic coordination across movements, just as opponents to progressive ideals are doing.  
  • The discussion also focuses on the need to break down silos within our own movements, the importance of the stories we tell ourselves and others, and how to approach hope as a discipline and joy as fuel for the work ahead. “The question I am often asked is ‘where are we headed?’ I am tempted to say, ‘that depends.’ It depends on all of us and us holding onto joy as fuel for what is for sure an endurance mission, and if we actually and dutifully do the work, even when its hard and even when we struggle to believe, we will win.” 

This is part of a six-part series capturing plenary discussions from Community Catalyst’s 2023 annual convening, Building Power for Health Justice. Our focus on power is a recognition of the need for us to leverage and build power together to create a health system rooted in race equity and health justice, and a society where health is a right for all.   

Learn more about Community Catalyst’s work on reproductive health here and here

Follow Fatima and the National Women’s Law Center here and here