Black voices that make a difference: Marcela Howell, CEO of Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

For over 40 years, Marcela Howell has been fighting for women’s rights and advocating for Black women to have a seat at the table when it comes to policy issues that concern them.

Howell is founder, CEO and President of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. It is a national-state partnership of eight Black women’s reproductive justice organizations.

Howell said while other reproductive justice groups are “womb centric,” their issues include housing, employment and reproductive health.

Howell was born into an Air Force family in Tacoma, Washington. She received her bachelor’s degree from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, her master’s degree from St. Louis University in St. Louis and her law degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Howell is passing her wealth of expertise in leadership development on to the next generation through the Next Generation Leadership Institute, a two year paid fellowship for women who attend historically black colleges and universities.

“It trains them in leadership, in reproductive justice, in campus organizing, and in community organizing,” Howell said.

She said it doesn’t matter what paths the women choose in the future, whether they pick law, medicine, education or the nonprofit world. The institute gives them a foundation that can be utilized in any field.

Howell is author of “Walk in My Shoes: A Black Activist’s Guide to Surviving the Women’s Movement.”

Learn more about Howell’s organization on its website.

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant is an Anchor and Reporter for WTOP. Over the past 20 years, Stephanie has worked in several markets, including Baltimore, Washington, Houston and Charleston, holding positions ranging from newscaster to morning show co-host.

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