Our Work > Programs > Reproductive Justice Initiative
RJI: Reproductive Justice Initiative
Laal’s Reproductive Justice Initiative (RJI) is a community-led program in partnership with North Central Bronx Midwifery centered on providing critical health literacy education for all womxn. Laal believes all women, despite their socioeconomic status, background, or citizenship status deserve health education and reproductive services.
How is the RJI Implemented?
Classes are taught in Shuddho and Sylheti, the two most common Bangladeshi dialects, fostering open dialogue. Topics such as nutrition, womxn’s anatomy, sexual health, consent, birth justice, family planning, pre-and post-natal care, mental health, and common health issues such as gestational diabetes, endometriosis, and anemia are covered in RJI. Laal’s curriculum provides culturally relevant education that is supplemented with services offered by NCBW.
RJI is the first community-based research project to be led by Bangladeshi womxn for Bangladeshi womxn. Laal will collect and disaggregate community health data of Bangladeshi immigrant womxn and analyze reproductive justice issues within the Bangladeshi immigrant community.
What are the goals of the RJI?
Improve health literacy and encourage Bangladeshi womxn to actively make decisions about their maternal/ reproductive care by 90%
Increase participation in routine checkups and examinations (cancer screenings, vaccinations, etc.)
Publish a comprehensive policy statement
Findings will be shared with NYC Council Members and healthcare providers in the city largely serving Bangladeshi populations
Advocate for language justice and urge NCBW to hire Bangladeshi mental health therapists, interpreters, doulas, and midwives to ensure timely and competent care
Demonstrate how patient-centered care and health-seeking behaviors of immigrant womxn can be improved through partnerships between healthcare sectors and community-based organizations
Why are we launching The Reproductive Justice Initiative?
Statistics from the NYC Bureau of Vital Statistics (2016-2019) show the drastic disparities in womxn’s reproductive health between the Bronx and other NYC boroughs. Specifically, among the Bronx community districts, Williamsbridge, which includes Norwood and much of the Bengali community in the Bronx, had particularly high percentages of preterm births and high percentages of babies born with low birth weights.
Laal created a series of infographics to show these staggering statistics that were shared on our social media channels.