July 15, 2020


NAPAWF Contact: Nikki Metzgar (202) 599-7642

National Partnership Contact: Llenda Jackson-Leslie (202) 986-2600

In Our Own Voice Contact: Racine Tucker-Hamilton (301) 922-8417

Sierra Club Contact: Cindy Carr, (412) 999-8223


Washington, D.C.– Today, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Partnership for Women & Families, and the Sierra Club released a brief focusing on the environmental and Reproductive Justice injustices experienced by Black, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as a result of not having access to clean and affordable water. 

A 2018 poll from Intersections of Our Lives, a collaborative of In Our Own Voice, NAPAWF, and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, revealed that clean water is a top issue among women of color voters. Sixty-two percent said that ensuring access to clean water is “extremely important” and believe that elected officials fail to acknowledge their priorities. The report offers several policy solutions for increasing access to safe drinking water and improving reproductive and overall health, including: partnering with indigenous leaders; ensuring access to a full range of reproductive health services; investments to replace lead pipes; and, ensuring water remains affordable and will not be shut off in the event of financial hardship.

The entire report is available here. Experts from each organization are hosting “The Color of Water: Clean Water Access & Reproductive Justice” webinar on Wednesday, July 15, from 1 p.m. to 2 pm. EST. To register for the webinar, click here.

“We are pleased to partner with The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, The National Partnership for Women & Families, and the Sierra Club on highlighting clean water challenges for families across the country. Our polling data highlighted that 70 percent of Black women polled believe that all families should have access to clean water, and it should be a priority for elected officials. Reproductive Justice demands that Black women have the right to choose if and when they become parents and the right to raise their children in a safe and healthy environment,” said Marcela Howell, president & CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “The global coronavirus pandemic, recent horrific incidents of police brutality, and the Black maternal health crisis have Black women demanding that our concerns be moved out of the shadows and prioritized by policymakers. One way Black women will be heard on issues like clean water, racial justice, and our basic human rights is by exercising our power at the ballot box on election day.”

“In our 2018 poll, ensuring access to clean water was the number one priority for Asian American and Pacific Islander women voters,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of NAPAWF. “Our communities still lack the critical investments required for us to thrive, including access to clean water, which in turn affects whether we can have children and raise them in a safe environment. Everyone should be able to trust their water is safe. With more power at the ballot box than ever before, AAPI women are demanding answers. We want to see leadership that doesn’t take us for granted and delivers on the issues we care about.”

“Polluted drinking water harms women and children most, especially when exposures occur during pregnancy. So it comes as no surprise that access to clean, affordable water is a top concern for Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Pacific Islander women, whose communities are too often impacted by contamination,” said Sonya Lunder, Senior Toxics Policy Advisor of the Sierra Club. “All people who choose to have children should have the ability to do so without the fear of getting sick from the water they’re drinking or worrying about how to access clean water in the first place. The Sierra Club is proud to partner with these strong Reproductive Justice allies and the National Partnership to identify this critical need and ensure access to clean water for all.”

“Access to clean water is an essential human right,” said Debra. L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “But clean water remains out of reach for far too many, especially in communities of color. Six years after the Flint water crisis, residents are still reliant on bottled water after lead contamination polluted the city’s water supply, sometimes waiting in line for as long as five hours for water. Meanwhile, Newark distributes bottled water to city residents, and Chicago and Baltimore are on the verge of a water contamination crisis.

“We know that exposure to contaminated water can have devastating outcomes, especially for children and pregnant women. And that’s why showcasing and elevating women of color voters’ grave concerns about clean water access, as In Our Own Voice and NAPAWF have done, is so valuable. We are committed to working with NAPAWF, In Our Own Voice and the Sierra Club to advance comprehensive policy solutions for clean water access.”


In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national Reproductive Justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women leaders at the national, regional and state levels in our ongoing fight to secure Reproductive Justice for Black women, femmes, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people and youth. Our strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities. 

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care, and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at