( Chicago… ) To provide a true alternative to anti-choice billboards on the South Side, Chicago Abortion Fund ( CAF ) will host a 'Clean Up the Lot and Community Resource Fair" on Saturday April 23rd from 9am until 4pm. It will take place at 58th State Street on the South Side of Chicago at the site of several anti-choice billboards. The clean-up and resource day is the community's response to outsider interference and judgment in regards to the shameful and disrespectful billboards placed in poor communities around the Chicago land area. Over twenty community organizations will gather to clean up the neglected empty lot and share information with community residents on how to access health care, education/training, low-cost birth control and other resources.
The billboards, depicting a picture of President Obama along with the message "every 21 minutes a future leader is aborted" are being distributed by the anti-reproductive health group Life Always. These billboards are just one of the latest tools being used to shame women of color about their legal right to access safe abortion procedures.
CAF believes this organization and the billboard campaign fail to address the social conditions that create the need for abortions, including poverty and a lack of access to contraception and reproductive health care. They refuse to support programs ( child care, food stamps, affordable housing, health care and employment ) that would help support young women and their already existing families. Moreover, Life Always has made no investment in these targeted communities and, by seeking to shock people with inflammatory racial images, spread "fake" concern.
Gaylon Alcaraz, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, says "On Saturday we will show the outsiders what 'real community engagement' looks like. It is not despicable and deplorable racial imagery. It is getting to residents valuable information so that they can make healthy and informed decisions for themselves and their families. Outsiders are willing to tell the women of the community what to do, but neglect the root causes of why abortion is the alternative so many poor young women take. We will clean the lot and then walk through the neighborhoods distributing information. This is much bigger than those billboards. This is about servicing a community in need."
Chicago Abortion Fund, in existence since 1985, fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Through direct service and education/advocacy, CAF assists low-income women in obtaining safe abortion services by providing clinic referrals, negotiated discounts and financial assistance. For more information, visit www.chicagoabortion.fund.com .