NRJ is a group of community members in the Niagara Region of Ontario advocating for increased visibility of and access to sexual health resources in Niagara. We are an action group of OPIRG Brock, a social, economic, and environmental justice organization based in St. Catharines, Ontario. To view our values statement, scroll down.
Reproductive justice is a concept created by a coalition of 12 Black women in the U.S. during the 1990s. It has three core tenants:
- The right to have an abortion
- The right to have children under the conditions you want to have them
- The right to raise your children in a safe and healthy environment
For more information about reproductive justice, please visit SisterSong’s website.
NRJ began in summer 2019 to address the growing anti-choice movement in Niagara. In 2019-2020, we held monthly team meetings as well as monthly craftivism meetups where we made pillow case pro-choice signs and other crafts. We ran three social media campaigns as part of our “Actually Accurate Information” series. The first campaign focused on Debunking Crisis Pregnancy Centres, the second was the Truth About Abortion in Canada that addressed and debunked the main talking points of anti-choicers, and the third campaign offered a list of Free & Low-cost Sexual Health Resources in Niagara. Each of these campaigns were turned into small booklets available to download from the Materials & FAQs page of the website.
As of summer 2020, we have been focused on creating easily shareable education resources. We received a grant from ARCC’s Small Grant program to cover the printing costs for 100 of each booklet to distribute across the region. Our goal is to influence the narrative around abortion in Niagara to be one that is non-judgemental, supportive, and justice-focused. We also want to make it easier to access local sexual health services, such as abortion.
We now also have a network of volunteers that respond to anti-choice activity in the region as it happens. If you wish to report anti-choice activity in the Niagara Region, please use this form. If you want to know how you can get more involved in this network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for members! If you’re interested in joining us, or if you have a skill or idea you think could be put to use, let us know by emailing email@example.com or DM-ing our Facebook Page or Instagram!
All activism begins with Indigenous solidarity. We must be prioritizing issues faced by Indigenous people in all our work, as the historical and still ongoing colonization of the region is foundational to the oppressive settler state of Canada from which all injustices unfold. Solidarity with Indigenous resistance and decolonization is central to NRJ’s — and all — reproductive justice work.
Sex work is real work. NRJ calls for the full decriminalization of sex work as well as rights, safety, and respect for all sex workers. All types of labour under capitalism, including sex work, is the selling of one’s skills, knowledge and body. The reproductive justice movement has always relied on sex worker leadership and NRJ is committed to supporting sex workers as we all fight for bodily autonomy from the state.
Black Lives Matter. Black people, especially Black trans women, face high rates of violence, discrimination, poverty, and experience additional obstacles to accessing sexual health services in Canada. The reproductive justice movement was started by Black women to address the ways that racism, transphobia, and state violence function to deny people access to essential health services. NRJ seeks to uphold the anti-racist and revolutionary values of the original founders of the movement.
Pro choice is not enough. In alignment with the Reproductive Justice core principles established by the founders of the movement, we must also ensure that, as well as having access to abortion, everyone has the right to have children under the conditions they want to have them and raise them in a safe and healthy environment. This means that reproductive justice is deeply connected to other forms of justice, including decolonization, racial justice, prison and police abolition, immigrant justice, environmental justice, economic justice, disability justice, among many others.
We believe in a world where all people have control over their own bodies. This includes the ability to self-prescribe abortion, estrogen, testosterone, and birth control and access these resources for free.
We do not believe in gender policing, including any form of transmedicalism, trans-exclusionary radical feminism, or transphobia. “Biological” sex and gender are both social constructs that should be abolished.
We strive to make our organization, events, and campaigns as accessible as possible. The anti-choice movement has a long history of tokenizing and perpetuating harm against disabled people. It is our job to combat those narratives in all of our work.
We believe in a harm reduction approach to substance use. We therefore strive to make our organization, events, and campaigns accessible and safe for people who use substances.
NRJ is a collective of people. As such we are invested in a culture of calling one another in and self education. We simultaneously hold space for the practices of calling out, which has a long history intertwined with creating community safety practices and cultures of accountability.
We support the safety and voices of survivors of violence, including, but not limited to, intimate partner violence, gender based violence, and state violence.
We are an OPIRG Brock Action Group. As such, we follow OPIRG Brock’s Safer Space Policy and procedures in the case of violations of the Safer Space Policy by any members or volunteers. You can read OPIRG Brock’s Safer Space Policy at www.opirgbrock.com/important-documents. As an addition to this policy, NRJ does not engage in debates via social media. Harmful comments on our posts will be deleted and the person will be sent a private message informing them of our policy and directing them to additional resources. Should the person continue to post potentially harmful comments, they will be blocked from our account.
Links to resources relevant to our values statement can be found on the Our Values & More Resources page
NRJ in the News
Niagara This Week: “Niagara residents unite to educate public about reproductive rights, resources,” September 2019
iHeartRADIO 610 CKTB segment on NRJ from September 2019 (note that NRJ was inaccurately described as a women’s group started by two women)