Dear Dr. Joycelyn Elders

Thank you.

Thank you for inviting us into your space.

Thank you for welcoming us with open arms.

Thank you for listening to our stories, our passion and our challenges.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Thank you for being humble and embracing us like we were your kin.

Thank you for your resiliency.

Thank you for being a guiding light.

Thank you for never taking no for answer.

Thank you for standing up to politicians and people who believed sexuality education was not important.

Thank you for being creating the path for Black women to advocate for reproductive justice, sexual health and sexuality education.

Thank you for encouraging us to “be true to ourself, stand up and speak out”.

In your words “we’ve been silent too long”, but I like to believe we’ve been silenced for too long. It’s our right to use our voice to create change, take up space and speak out against injustice. It’s our job to educate our communities because representation matters. We have every right to want to research sexuality within our communities because if we don’t someone else will.

Most importantly, we must remember that we are not in this fight alone. As I looked around, holding back tears, I was reminded of the amount of strength, intelligence and love that filled the room. We are all making a difference in our community. We lean on each other when we will defeated. We uplift each other in times of sorrow. We show up to support each other. We love one another like family. We have learned to do all of these things from sexual health and reproductive justice champions like yourself.

Thank you for feeding us with knowledge, optimism, power, and fuel to conquer all the challenges we have and will continue to face as we strive to make a change in our communities.




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