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Our Acknowledgement and Apology for Causing Harm through TRA

December 14, 2023

The following is a statement by Lilith Fund to acknowledge and apologize for our part in causing harm to Black Texans through our participation in the Trust Respect Access coalition. We believe in the importance of transparency and naming past harms as part of the process of restorative justice and moving forward in an explicitly anti-racist manner.

In 2017 Lilith Fund was one of the first abortion funds to join the Trust Respect Access (TRA) Coalition. TRA had been established in response to the abortion access crisis created by the 2013 targeted regulations of abortion provider laws that led to the mass closure of abortion clinics in Texas.

From its inception, TRA was convened by a funder as a legislative and policy-change coalition and led by legacy pro-choice organizations and other progressive organizations that had not previously led abortion justice work in Texas. While the coalition did include one independent abortion provider, it did not at first include direct service organizations or organizations primarily led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color leaders. 

Lilith Fund was invited to join the coalition later, after we became recipients of grant funding from an entity that convened TRA. At that point, we wanted to be taken seriously as a coalition partner and demonstrate the importance of our expertise as abortion funders and people working directly with Texans navigating barriers to abortion care. We felt previously that our expertise had not been taken seriously, and we felt we had to fight to have a meaningful voice at the table. In this effort to acclimate and assimilate into the coalition, we made mistakes that upheld white supremacist culture.

The coalition failed to do intersectional work that meaningfully engaged the leadership of Texans who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, or other communities that are disproportionately impacted by abortion restrictions and reproductive oppression. Through our attempts at assimilation, we participated in and perpetuated a culture of urgency with all of the constraints on imagination and possibilities that go along with that, and in the process we devalued the experience, expertise, and engagement of BIPOC Texans. We should have not allowed the exclusion of our coalition’s only Black-led reproductive justice partner from key strategy conversations. We should have flagged the anti-Black origins of the coalition and addressed the perpetuation of anti-Blackness in our shared space, including interrupting microaggressions and tokenism. We apologize for both our actions and inactions that harmed our Black partners, and we are committed to learning from our mistakes.

It took Black-led organizations and Black staff from our fund and coalition partners to put a stop to this. They called on us to pause the coalition so that anti-Blackness would be acknowledged and addressed. Now, because of that bold and necessary step, the TRA Black Caucus is leading a radical restructuring of this coalition so that we can collectively and effectively advance visionary work toward reproductive justice for our state. We do this proudly through the centering of Black leadership, Black community building, and intersectionality. We cannot undo the harm that has already been done, however, Lilith Fund is committed to this new iteration of our coalition with our participation in the TRA Taskforce and in following the lead of the Black Caucus.